A Scottish artist who lived and worked in Edinburgh, travelled little outside Scotland and primarily painted genre figure and landscape subjects. Although 1870s directories suggest he also did portraits, few are apparent and not in his general exhibiting record other than ‘A head – study’ at the Royal Scottish Academy in 1887. Robertson’s birth and death dates are often wrongly given as 1848–1908 but he was born in late 1835 or early 1836 in Raeburn Place, Edinburgh, to Robert Sanderson (1809–1866), a wood carver and gilder, and his wife Caroline (née Ross, m. 1831). He was one of eight children, but not all survived infancy and his mother and two brothers eventually died in Edinburgh poorhouses. At the 1851 census, when the family was living in Dicks Close, 267 Cowgate, he was listed as a ‘Woodcarver’s Apprentice’, probably to his father.

Text source: Art Detective

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