Brother of David Scott. He trained at the Trustees' Academy in Edinburgh and was taught engraving by his father. He saw the family print workshop as 'the lineal descendant of Albert Derer's factory in Nernberg'; he was later to own a fine collection of D?rer's prints and write a book about him (1870). In 1837 he went to London, where he was impressed by 'a new and interesting school of historical and loosely speaking, inventive and illustrative painters'. This encouraged him to leave landscape painting for the time being and become a history painter. Like his brother, he entered a cartoon for the Westminster Hall competition in 1842: the Free North Britons Surprising the Roman Wall between the Tyne and Solway; this too was unsuccessful. In 1843, discouraged by lack of patronage in London, he accepted the Mastership of the Government School of Design at Newcastle upon Tyne, where he stayed for 20 years, visiting London each summer.