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Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Allan Ramsay (1713-1784), Portrait painter

Portrait painter; son of Allan Ramsay, the poet; brought up in Edinburgh where he started drawing at the age of twelve; studied briefly, 1734, in London in Hysing's studio and Hogarth's academy in St Martin's Lane and, 1736-37, in Rome and Naples; worked, after 1738, in London and in Edinburgh where he had a studio; in Italy 1754-57; acclaimed, 1759, with 'Mr Reynolds ... our favourite painters, and two of the very best we ever had'; [1] appointed painter-in-ordinary to George III, 1761; gave up painting c.1770 to follow literary pursuits; in Italy 1775-77 and again 1782-84, died in Dover on his way home. Married (1) Anne Bayne, 1739, and (2) Margaret Lindsay, 1752. Many of his drawings descended to Lady Murray and were presented, 1860, to the National Gallery of Scotland.

Footnotesback to top

1) Horace Walpole, 1759; see exhibition catalogue ‘Allan Ramsay', RA, 1964, p 57.

Referencesback to top

Andrews and Brotchie 1960
K. Andrews and J. R. Brotchie, Catalogue of Scottish Drawings, National Gallery of Scotland, 1960.

Smart 1952
A. Smart, The Life and Art of Allan Ramsay, 1952.


This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1977, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.