Allan Ramsay (artist)

Allan Ramsay (13 October 1713 – 10 August 1784) was a prominent Scottish portrait-painter.

Allan Ramsay
Allan Ramsay, Selbstportrait
Allan Ramsay, self-portrait, c. 1737–9
(National Portrait Gallery)
Born13 October 1713
Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland
Died10 August 1784 (aged 70)
Dover, Kent, England
EducationLondon (1733-36, under Hans Huyssing, and at the St. Martin's Lane Academy); Rome (1736-9, under Francesco Solimena and Francesco Fernandi).
Known forPortraiture
Patron(s)Duncan Forbes,
Duke of Bridgewater,
George III

Life and career

First wife Anne Bayne, painted by Ramsay[1]

Allan Ramsay was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, the eldest son of Allan Ramsay, poet and author of The Gentle Shepherd. From the age of twenty he studied in London under the Swedish painter Hans Hysing, and at the St. Martin's Lane Academy; leaving in 1736 for Rome and Naples, where he worked for three years under Francesco Solimena and Imperiali (Francesco Fernandi).[2]

On his return in 1738 to the British Isles, he first settled in Edinburgh, attracting attention by his head of Duncan Forbes of Culloden and his full-length portrait of the Duke of Argyll, later used on Royal Bank of Scotland banknotes. He later moved to London, where he was employed by the Duke of Bridgewater. His pleasant manners and varied culture, not less than his artistic skill, contributed to render him popular.[2] His only serious competitor was Thomas Hudson, with whom he shared a drapery painter, Joseph van Aken. In 1739 he married his first wife, Anne Bayne, the daughter of Alexander Bayne of Rires (c. 1684–1737), and Mary Carstairs (1695?–1759). Anne died on 4 February 1743, giving birth to their 3rd child; none of their children reached adulthood.[1]

One of his drawing pupils was Margaret Lindsay, eldest daughter of Sir Alexander Lindsay of Evelick and Amelia Murray (granddaughter to David Murray, 5th Viscount of Stormont and sister to the naval officer John Lindsay). He later eloped with her and on 1 March 1752 they married in the Canongate Kirk, Edinburgh; her father never forgave her for marrying an artist. Ramsay already had to maintain a daughter from his previous marriage and his two surviving sisters, but told Sir Alexander that he could provide Margaret with an annual income of £100. He said it would increase ‘as my affairs increase, and I thank God, they are in a way of increasing’ and that his only motive for the marriage was ‘my love for your Daughter, who, I am sensible, is entitled to much more than ever I shall have to bestow upon her’.[3] Three children survived from their long and happy marriage, Amelia (1755–1813), Charlotte (1758–1818?), and John (1768–1845).

Ramsay and his new wife spent 1754 to 1757 together in Italy, going to Rome, Florence, Naples and Tivoli, researching, painting and drawing old masters, antiquities and archaeological sites. He earned income painting Grand Tourists' portraits. This and other trips to Italy involved more literary and antiquarian research than art. After their return, Ramsay in 1761 was appointed to succeed John Shackelton as Principal Painter in Ordinary to George III, beating Hudson to the post. The king commissioned so many royal portraits to be given to ambassadors and colonial governors, that Ramsay used the services of numerous assistants—of whom David Martin and Philip Reinagle are the best known.[2]

He gave up painting in about 1770 to concentrate on literary pursuits. His health was shattered by an accidental dislocation of the right arm and his second wife's death in 1782. With unflinching pertinacity, he struggled until he had completed a likeness of the king upon which he was engaged at the time, and then started for his beloved Italy. He left a series of 50 royal portraits to be completed by his assistant Reinagle. For several years he lingered in the south, his constitution finally broken. He died at Dover on 10 August 1784.[2]

Ramsay was a friend of Samuel Johnson's, who said of him, 'I love Ramsay. You will not find a man in whose conversation there is more instruction, more information, and more elegance, than in Ramsay's.'[4]


Allan Ramsay - King George III in coronation robes - Google Art Project
Portrait of George III, circa 1762

Among his most satisfactory productions are some of his earlier ones, such as the full-length of the duke of Argyll, and the numerous bust-portraits of Scottish gentlemen and their ladies which he executed before settling in London. They are full of both grace and individuality; the features show excellent draughtsmanship; and the flesh-painting is firm and sound in method, though frequently tending a little to hardness and opacity. His full-length of Lady Mary Coke is remarkable for the skill and delicacy with which the white satin drapery is managed; while the portrait of his brown-eyed second wife Margaret, in the Scottish National Gallery, is described as having a sweetness and tenderness. The portrait of his wife also shows the influence of French art, which Ramsay incorporated into his work. The large collection of his sketches in the possession of the Royal Scottish Academy and the Board of Trustees, Edinburgh also show this French elegance and soft colours.[2]

In a documentary broadcast by the BBC in February 2014, Ramsay was shown to be the artist who painted the lost portrait of Charles Edward Stuart in 1745, completed on the verge of his invasion of England.[5]


Ramsay has paintings in the collection of a few British institutions including the National Gallery in London, Sheffield, Derby Art Gallery (attributed), Glasgow Museum and Newstead Abbey.[6]

Abolitionism and paintings of Queen Charlotte

According to Mario de Valdes y Cocom in 2009 on an edition of PBS Frontline, in several paintings of Queen Charlotte, Ramsay deliberately emphasised "mulatto features" which the queen supposedly inherited via descent from a 13th-century Moorish ancestor.[7] Valdes suggests that copies of these paintings were sent to the colonies to be used by abolitionists as a de facto support for their cause.[7]

Other historians question whether the 13th-century ancestor, referred to in various places as a 'Moor' and Berber, was black African. In any event, they contend that the connection, nine and 15 generations removed, was too distant to consider Charlotte 'black' in any cultural way, as her other ancestors were all European.[8]

Allan Ramsay - Allan Ramsay, 1713 - 1784. Artist (Self-portrait) - Google Art Project


Lost Portrait of Charles Edward Stuart

The lost portrait of Charles Edward Stuart, painted in Edinburgh in 1745

Charlotte Sophia of Mecklenburg-Strelitz by studio of Allan Ramsay

Queen Charlotte as painted by Allan Ramsay in 1762

Painting of David Hume

Portrait of David Hume, 1754

Allan Ramsay - David Hume, 1711 - 1776. Historian and philosopher - Google Art Project

Portrait of David Hume, 1766

Allan Ramsay - Lady in a Pink Silk Dress - Google Art Project

Lady in a Pink Silk Dress

Allan Ramsay in old age, by James Foye, SNPG
Allan Ramsay in old age by Michael Foye 1776


  • A Dialogue on Taste 1762 ;(Kessinger Publishing 2009) ISBN 978-1-104-59212-7
  • Letters on the Present Disturbances in Great Britain and her American Provinces 1777 ; (Gale ECCO 2010) ISBN 978-1170488447
  • Observations on the Riot Act 1781 ; (Gale ECCO 2010) ISBN 978-1170486757


  1. ^ a b "Anne Bayne, Mrs Allan Ramsay, d. 1743. Wife of the artist Allan Ramsay" National Galleries of Scotland accessed May 15, 2016
  2. ^ a b c d e  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Ramsay, Allan" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 22 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 878–879.
  3. ^ Ramsay to Lindsay, 31 March 1752, A. Smart, Allan Ramsay: Painter, Essayist, and Man of the Enlightenment (1992), 96 n. 10
  4. ^ James Boswell (30 April 1778). The Life of Samuel Johnson.
  5. ^ "Lost Bonnie Prince Charlie portrait found in Scotland". BBC News. 22 February 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  6. ^ Allan Ramsay, BBC; accessed August 2011.
  7. ^ a b "The blurred racial lines of famous families - Queen Charlotte". PBS. Retrieved 2012-09-26.
  8. ^ Stuart Jeffries, "Was this Britain's first black queen?" The Guardian, 12 March 2009

External links

Court offices
Preceded by
John Shackelton
Principal Painter in Ordinary to the King
Succeeded by
Sir Joshua Reynolds
1782 in Scotland

Events from the year 1782 in Scotland.

84th Regiment of Foot (Royal Highland Emigrants)

The 84th Regiment of Foot (Royal Highland Emigrants) was a British regiment in the American Revolutionary War that was raised to defend present day Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada from the constant land and sea attacks by American Revolutionaries. The 84th Regiment was also involved in offensive action in the Thirteen Colonies; including North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia and what is now Maine, as well as raids upon Lake Champlain and the Mohawk Valley. The regiment consisted of 2,000 men in twenty companies. The 84th Regiment was raised from Scottish soldiers who had served in the Seven Years' War and stayed in North America. As a result, the 84th Regiment had one of the oldest and most experienced officer corps of any regiment in North America. The Scottish Highland regiments were a key element of the British Army in the American Revolution. The 84th Regiment was clothed, armed and accoutred the same as the Black Watch, with Lieutenant Colonel Allan Maclean commanding the first battalion and Major General John Small of Strathardle commanding the second. The two Battalions operated independently of each other and saw little action together.

Allan Ramsay

Allan Ramsay may refer to:

Allan M. Ramsay (born 1953), professor of computer science

Allan Ramsay (poet) (1686–1758), also known as Allan Ramsay the Elder, Scottish poet

Allan Ramsay (artist) (1713–1784), also known as Allan Ramsay the Younger, Scottish portrait painter

Allan Ramsay (portrait painter born 1959), painter

Allan Ramsay (diplomat) (born 1937), British diplomat

Allan Ramsay (portrait painter born 1959)

Allan Ramsay (born 1959, Edinburgh) is a painter. He was the winner of the 1988 John Player Portrait Award, subsequently known as the BP Portrait Award.

Bath Assembly Rooms

The Bath Assembly Rooms, designed by John Wood the Younger in 1769, are a set of elegant assembly rooms located in the heart of the World Heritage City of Bath in England which are now open to the public as a visitor attraction. They are designated as a Grade I listed building.During the Georgian era Bath became fashionable, and the architects John Wood the Elder, and his son laid out new areas of housing for residents and visitors. Assembly rooms had been built early in the 18th century, but a new venue for balls, concerts and gambling was envisaged in the area between Queen Square, The Circus and the Royal Crescent. Robert Adam submitted a proposal that was rejected as too expensive. John Wood, the Younger raised funding through a tontine, and construction started in 1769. The new or upper assembly rooms opened with a grand ball in 1771 and became the hub of fashionable society, being frequented by Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, along with the nobility of the time.

The building, made of Bath stone, is arranged in a U shape. There are four main function rooms in the complex: the 100-foot-long (30 m) ballroom — the largest Georgian interior in Bath; the tea room; the card room; and the octagon. The rooms have Whitefriars crystal chandeliers and are decorated with fine art.

In the 20th century they were used as a cinema and in 1931 were taken over by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and restored. They were bombed and burnt out during the Second World War, with restoration undertaken by Sir Albert Richardson before reopening in 1963. They are now owned by the National Trust and operated by Bath and North East Somerset Council for public functions. The basement of the building provides a home to the Fashion Museum.

Catalog of paintings in the Louvre Museum

The Catalog of paintings in the Louvre Museum lists the painters of the collection of the Louvre Museum as they are catalogued in the Joconde database. The collection contains roughly 5,500 paintings by 1,400 artists born before 1900, and over 500 named artists are French by birth. For painters with more than two works in the collection, or for paintings by unnamed and unknown artists, see the Louvre website. Most artists in the collection are represented with only one or two works, but some artists are represented with many many more; for example artists with over 50 works catalogued are Théodore Chassériau, Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, Eugène Delacroix, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Eustache Le Sueur, Peter Paul Rubens, and Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes.

Per artist a maximum of two artwork IDs is provided with which the artwork can be searched online. The two-letter prefix in the ID indicates the origin of the artwork: MI = Musées Impériaux; RF = République Française; INV = Inventaire Department of Paintings & Department of Sculptures.

There are 21 women artists represented with works in the collection: Marie-Guillemine Benoist, Élise Bruyère, Élisabeth Sophie Chéron, Eugénie Dalton, Madeleine Goblot, Hortense Haudebourt-Lescot, Joséphine Houssaye, Angelica Kauffmann, Adèle de Kercado, Adélaïde Labille-Guiard, Judith Leyster, Catherine Lusurier, Constance Mayer, Louise Moillon, Julie Philipault, Rose Marie Pruvost, Thea Schleusner, Nanine Vallain, Anne Vallayer-Coster, Elisabeth Louise Vigée-LeBrun, and Marie-Denise Villers.

List of books for the "Famous Scots Series"

This is a list of books published as the "Famous Scots Series" by the Edinburgh publishers, Oliphant, Anderson and Ferrier, from 1896 to 1905. Forty-two of these books were published though least one volume in the series was planned but never published. These books are distinctive for their bright red covers and uniform presentation. They are generally of a quite high scholarly quality. The authors often had access to biographical material which is no longer available. Two versions of each volume were published. An upmarket version has gilded lettering and motifs on the front cover and has gilt tape as book marker. It is about a quarter of inch longer than the ordinary version which is gilded only on the edge.

Thirty-three of the authors were men and five were women. It appears that all the women were educated at home, presumably by tutors or governesses. Three of the women wrote biographies of Robert Louis Stevenson, namely, Margaret Moyes Black, Rosaline Masson and Eve Blantyre Simpson.

No more books in this series were published, as is evidenced by the following report in the New York Times in 1904:

"LONDON, Sept. 16. -- Andrew Carnegie has written a little book on James Watt, the great engineer. It will be the concluding volume of the Famous Scots Series, published by Messrs. Oliphant, Anderson Ferrier."

Ramsay (surname)

Ramsay is a Scottish surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Ramsay family in the Australian soap opera Neighbours

Alexander Ramsay (disambiguation), multiple people

Ali Ramsay, Scottish cricketer

Alison Ramsay (born 1959), Scottish hockey international

Allan Ramsay (artist) (1713–1784), Scottish painter

Allan Ramsay (poet) (1686–1758), Scottish poet

Allan Ramsay (portrait painter born 1959), Scottish painter

Sir Andrew Ramsay, Lord Abbotshall (1619–1688), Privy Counsellor, first Lord Provost of Edinburgh

Andrew Michael Ramsay (1686–1743), the 'Chevalier Ramsay', Jacobite

Captain Archibald Maule Ramsay (1894–1955), British Army officer and politician

Bertram Ramsay (1883–1945), British admiral

David Ramsay (congressman) (1749–1815), American physician, congressman, and historian

David Ramsay (Upper Canada) (c. 1740 – c. 1810), controversial sailor, courier, translator and fur and alcohol trader in early Canadian history

Edward Pierson Ramsay (1842–1916), Australian zoologist

Edward Bannerman Ramsay (1793–1872), Scottish episcopalian clergyman and dean

Fox Maule Ramsay, 11th Earl of Dalhousie (1801–1874), British political leader

Francis Dennis Ramsay (1925–2009), Scottish painter

Francis Munroe Ramsay (1835–1914), US Navy Officer and Chief of Bureau of Navigation

George Ramsay, 9th Earl of Dalhousie (1770–1838), Canadian political leader

George Ramsay (1855–1935), secretary/manager, Aston Villa Football Club (George Burrell Ramsay)

Gordon Ramsay (born 1966), British chef and television personality

Heath Ramsay (born 1981), Australian butterfly swimmer

Henrik Ramsay (1886–1951), Finnish politician and minister of foreign affairs

Henry Ramsay (NY engineer), NYS Engineer and Surveyor 1853

Ian Ramsay (born 1958), Australian Law Professor and Director of the Center for Corporate Law & Securities Regulation, University of Melbourne

Jack Ramsay (1925-2014), American college basketball coach

James Broun-Ramsay, 1st Marquess of Dalhousie (1812–1860), British colonial leader

James Garden Ramsay (1827–1890), industrialist and politician in South Australia.

James Ramsay (Australian governor) (1916–1986), Governor of Queensland (Commodore Sir James Maxwell Ramsay)

James Ramsay (abolitionist) (1733–1789), Anglican minister and abolitionist

James Ramsay (bishop) (c. 1624 – 1696), Bishop of Dunblane, Bishop of Ross

James Ramsay MacDonald (1866–1937), Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

John Ramsay, 1st Earl of Holderness (c. 1580 – 1626), Scottish courtier

John William Ramsay, 13th Earl of Dalhousie (1847–1887), Scottish politician

Josh Ramsay (born 1985), Canadian musician

Meta Ramsay (born 1936), Labour Life Peer

Michèle Ramsay, South Africa geneticist

Morton Ramsay (born 1926), Scottish footballer

Peter de Ramsay (died 1256), Bishop of Aberdeen

Richie Ramsay (born 1983), Scottish golf international

Robert George Wardlaw Ramsay (1852–1921), Army officer and ornithologist

Scott Ramsay (English footballer) (born 1980), English footballer

Shyam Ramsay (born 1952), Bollywood film director

Silas Alexander Ramsay (1850–1942), mayor of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Tulsi Ramsay (born 1944), film director

Walter C. Ramsay (1878-1928), American politician and newspaper editor

Wilhelm Ramsay (1865–1928), Finnish geologist

Sir William Ramsay (1852–1916), Nobel laureate chemist

William Ramsay (manufacturer) (1868–1914), the manufacturer of Kiwi boot polish

Sir William Mitchell Ramsay (1851–1939), Scottish archaeologist and Bible scholar

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