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The son of a Glasgow merchant, Robison was born at his father's estate at Boghall, Stirlingshire. After attending the University of Glasgow he became tutor to the midshipman son of Admiral Knowles. On Knowles' recommendation he was appointed to the Board of Longitude in 1762, but returned to Glasgow in the following year where he formed lasting friendships with James Watt and Joseph Black. When Black was called to Edinburgh, he succeeded him in Glasgow University as lecturer in chemistry.
oil on canvas
124 x 97.5 cm
presented by the sitter's son, Sir John Robison, FRSE, 1828