Archibald Robertson (1765-1835)
In 1791 Robertson travelled to New York where he later established the Columbian Academy with his brother Alexander and painted portraits in oil, watercolour and crayons.
Archibald Robertson was born in Aberdeen, the son of an architect and the brother of miniaturists Andrew Robertson (1777-1845) and Alexander Robertson (1772-1841). The arts were particularly vibrant in Scotland during this period and Robertson brothers were supposedly well acquainted with the likes of Sir Henry Raeburn, whose style is clearly reflected in the work of Archibald’s brother Andrew and indeed at times, his own.
Robertson travelled to London in 1786 where he studied under Charles Shireff (b.c.1750) and supposedly entered the Royal Academy schools, which is when he presumably painted is composite portrait of Sir Joshua Reynolds [Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York].
In 1791 Robertson travelled to New York where he later established the Columbian Academy with his brother Alexander and painted portraits in oil, watercolour and crayons. Shortly after moving to New York Robertson went to Philladelphia where he painted a portrait of George Washington onto a slab of marble [New York Historical Society]. Robertson seems to have painted numerous portraits of Washington, including an oil at Sulgrave Manor, Oxfordshire, for the 11th Earl of Buchan under whose invitation Robertson travelled to New York initially.
Although details of his career in America are scarce, we know he published a treatise on miniature painting and maintained a large family with wife Eliza Abramse before his death in 1835.