George Jamesone was born in Aberdeen 1586. His father, Andrew Jamesone was an architect and stonemason, and it is probable that he designed the much admired family home in Aberdeen now known as Jamesone’s House. The taste and judgement evident from the design of this building is perhaps a clue as to why Andrew Jamesone had ambitions for his son to study abroad and develop the talents emerging from his scholastic endevours. To this end, he was trained as a painter in Antwerp alongside Anthony Vandyke and under the supervision of Rubens, an auspicious start to what would become a lucrative career.
In 1620 Jamesone returned to Scotland to establish himself as a portrait painter in Aberdeen, where he married Miss Isobel Tosh, several years later in 1624. He is thought to have been a loyal and loving husband to his wife whose representation in one of his best pictures shows a person of undeniable attraction. He fathered several children by her, though tragically all his sons met with premature death, and his daughter was the only child he left behind him.
Jamesone was working in Edinburgh during the visit of King Charles I in 1633 and was commissioned by the magistrates to paint portraits of some of the real or supposed early kings of Scotland. Charles I was very impressed by the resultant collection and agreed to sit for his own portrait. The project must have greatly pleased the otherwise troubled king who rewarded Jamesone with a diamond ring from his own finger.
The patronage and admiration of the monarch were the circumstances which brought the attention of nobility to his work. Soon after his encounter with the monarch, he appears to have commenced a prodigious period of portrait painting, which was then as is now the most profitable area of the art. Amongst the many examples of this period are the works patronised by the Campbells of Breadalbane, in particular a family tree illustrated by miniature portraits (this work now in the possession of the Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh).
Other works are held by the University of Aberdeen and dispersed throughout Scotland, as the inheritances of mainly titled families. Jamesone died in Edinburgh in 1644..