Three-quarter length. The Professor is seated in a wing-chair with chintz cover. His hands are clasped upon his lap. He wears a brown suit. Signed and dated.
Regius Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature in the University of Edinburgh in 1915 and retired in 1935. The following year he was knighted and elected Rector of the University.
His classic work was on the 17th century. His critical edition of the poems of John Donne (1912), with his works on the 17th-century background, re-established the metaphysical in the front of the second rank of English poets, gave a new and invigorating direction to critical thought, and deeply influenced contemporary English poetry. Works on Milton, Wordsworth, Byron, and Scott revealed the liberality of his judgement and confirmed the depth of his scholarship. His edition of Scott's letters (1937) is one of the monuments of 20th-century erudition. But Grierson's vision was not turned solely to the past. His interest in modern Scottish poetry helped to establish a new vernacular tradition.
As a professor his influence on his contemporaries and pupils has been profound. His long tenure of the oldest Chair of English Literature in the world added further glories to its great reputation, and the ascendancy of his teaching has, through his many distinguished pupils, borne seed throughout the English-speaking world. He was the first holder of a Chair at Edinburgh to be elected Rector.