After the Act of Union between England and Scotland in 1707, Glasgow became one of the chief ports for the importation of American tobacco. Consequently, the figure of a Highlander became a common sign for a tobacconist, frequently represented holding a snuff mull of horn with a pinch of snuff in the raised hand, as here.
In the 1720s, the shop of the tobacconist David Wishart ("at ye Highlander, Thistle and Crown," Coventry Street, London) became something of a Jacobite rendezvous. Wishart was one of the first tobacconists to use the figure of a Highlander as a sign, but the Blackamoor and tobacco roll were more traditional subjects for signs at these shops.
Other related figures include one illustrated in E.H. Pinto, Treen and other Wooden Bygones, 1969, p. 439, and another from the Judkyn/Pratt Collection sold Christie's South Kennsington, 8 November 1995, lot 86.