Sir Colin Campbell, 2nd Baronet (c. 1577–1640), 8th Laird of Glenorchy, was the son of Sir Duncan Campbell, 1st Baronet and Lady Jane Stewart, a daughter of John Stewart, 4th Earl of Atholl. Sir Duncan was the 7th Laird of the Glenorchy branch of Clan Campbell, and his shrewd, ruthless dealings as “Black Duncan” had capped a spectacular rise in the family fortunes to national prominence in Scotland, with a baronetcy in the Baronetage of Nova Scotia. Sir Colin was a man of general culture, a patron of the arts, and devoted much effort to the family seat of Balloch Castle. He also improved Barcaldine Castle.
He married Juliana Campbell, daughter of Sir Hugh Campbell, 1st Lord Campbell of Loudoun and Margaret Gordon. Childless, they fostered Archibald Campbell (later 9th Earl of Argyll). This fostering repeated in the next generation that of Archibald’s father Archibald Campbell, 1st Marquess of Argyll, who became chief of Clan Campbell, and had been happily fostered (a custom of the period, but also with political ramifications within the clan) by Sir Duncan.
In 1633, Sir Colin Campbell commissioned an artist to supply him with a series of portraits of Scottish kings and queens, as well as portraits of eight of his own male predecessors. These, totalling forty-one, were for the decoration of his tower house of Balloch (later Taymouth Castle); in the records of the house, the painter, who stayed for eight months, is simply referred to as “the German painter.”
Item, the said Sir Coline bestowit and gave to ane Germane painter quhom he entertanit in his house aucht moneth, and that for painting of threttie broads of the Kingis of Scotland, and of Great Britannie, France and Ireland, and tua of thair Majesteis Queins of gude memorie, and of the said Sir Coline his awin and his predicessors portraitis, quhilkis portraitis ar sett up in the hall and chalmer of Daes of the house of Balloch, the soume of ane thousand pundis.
Black Book of Taymouth.
Sir Colin was also the foremost patron of George Jamesone, who in 1634 painted a series of the Ladies of Glenorchy (e.g. Invereil House, Lothian; remainder dispersed at sale, Invereil House, 3 March 1969), a set of eight head-and-shoulders portraits, each in a feigned oval surround, of the wives of former Glenorchy lairds: these were intended as companion pieces to the genealogical set of Campbell’s male predecessors that had been painted at his Taymouth home during the previous year by the unknown German artist.