Raeburn was the leading Scottish portrait painter of his day. He was influenced by his English predecessor, Joshua Reynolds, but worked in a looser style, more like the work of his younger contemporary, Thomas Lawrence. He liked to paint directly on to the canvas, without preliminary drawing. Even his grandest portraits have an informal, spontaneous air.Mary Hepburn of Haddington was two years older than Raeburn. She married a Mr Downey of Preston Pans and the portrait must date from shortly afterwards, around 1787-90. The couple’s status is apparent from her fashionable dress and the landscape with a classical pedestal.