(b Cairnie, Forfar, Tayside, 24 Oct 1682; d London, 4 June 1731).
Scottish painter. He came from a professional background, and his
maternal uncle, Sir John Clerk of Penicuik, may have provided Aikman
with an introduction to Sir John Baptist Medina, under whom he
studied painting in London from 1704. In 1707 Aikman set out on
travels to Italy, Constantinople (now Istanbul) and Smyrna, on the
proceeds made from the sale of his estate at Cairnie. When he
returned to Edinburgh in 1711, he adopted a heavy Baroque style for
his portraits: Sir William Carstares (c. 1712–15; U. Edinburgh, Old
Coll., Upper Lib.) shows bravura, although the handling is coarse.
The three-quarter-length portraits of Patrick, 1st Earl of Marchmont
(1720; Mellerstain, Borders) and Sir Hew Dalrymple, Lord North
Berwick (1722; Edinburgh, Parliament House) show a greater
sophistication, which he may have acquired during a further trip to
London in 1720.