On 27 June 1877 Scott sat for the distinguished portrait painter, George Richmond, who produced a chalk sketch as a preliminary study for Scott’s presidential portrait for the Institute. All past presidents are requested to donate either a portrait bust or a painting and Scott commissioned Richmond, who had already painted him in 1872, for his presidential portrait.

Richmond was elected a Royal Academician in 1866 and it was probably through the Academy that Scott knew him. He was, however, vastly popular and produced over 2500 portraits including many celebrities of the period, such as Ruskin, Elizabeth Gaskell and a particularly beautiful depiction of Charlotte Bronte. His popularity was partly due to his alleged flattery of his sitter, but The Builder described his 1877 portrait of Scott as ‘a good likeness’. It shows a robust and determined looking figure holding a pair of spectacles. The flabby features shown on a photograph taken eight years earlier have disappeared. He certainly does not look like a man who would die exactly eight months later.