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Kay, John

Kay, John
Kay, John
Kay, John
Kay, John
About the Artist
Kay, John
Biography
The portrait etcher and miniature painter John Kay was born near Dalkeith in 1742. His father died early in his life and he was sent to live with relatives of his mother in Leith. He began his barber's apprenticeship aged 13, and opened his own business in the early 1770's.
Alongside his career as a barber he pursued an active interest in art, producing many portraits. He attracted the patronage of William Nisbet, and, following Nisbet's death in 1784 received an annuity from his son. This income allowed him to focus full time on portraiture. He produced hundreds of caricatures of the most notable figures in Scottish society.

The less flattering of these made him a target for legal action on several occasions. After his death 'A series of original portraits and caricature etchings by the late John Kay' was published initially in monthly instalments and later in collected volumes. He died in 1826 and was buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh.





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