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Allan Ramsay

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- subject matching 'Self-portraits tour'

Allan Ramsay, by Allan Ramsay, circa 1737-1739 -NPG 3311 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Allan Ramsay

by Allan Ramsay
circa 1737-1739
24 in. x 18 1/4 in. (610 mm x 464 mm) oval
NPG 3311

This portraitback to top

A good version of NPG 3311 with deep red drapery and a pink turnover, lent by Dr T. Loveday to the Ramsay exhibition of 1958 [1], was found, after cleaning, to be lettered A. Ramsay Pictor. 1749. Obviously inscribed rather than signed and dated, the portrait had been in Italy in the early 19th century. The quality is inferior to NPG 3311 and it lacks the pentimenti which suggest that the Gallery portrait is the prototype. The date 1749 seems late for the apparent age of the sitter. A copy, framed as a pendant to a portrait of his first wife, apparently painted at about the time of their marriage in 1739, is in the collection of W. R. Law. An oil copy in the Scottish NPG (189) was made by Alexander Nasmyth in 1781 but no date for the original is given. A drawing in the National Gallery of Scotland (D 2019), although possibly younger, shows a similar pose; it is perhaps a study for NPG 3311. [2]

Footnotesback to top

1) Exhibited 'Allan Ramsay, 1713-84', Kenwood, 1958 (1); ‘Art Treasures of the West Country', Bristol, 1937 (74), lent by Dr Loveday. The Loveday family also owned Ramsay's portrait of John Ward (q.v.). Mrs Goodwin (?1689-1788), whose daughter married into the Loveday family, knew Ramsay quite well, as she mentions him in letters.
2) K. Andrews and J. R. Brotchie, Catalogue of Scottish Drawings, National Gallery of Scotland, 1960, p 171.

Physical descriptionback to top

Dark brown eyes and eyebrows, protruding lower lip, chin slightly cleft, pale complexion, bluish jowl, dark brown hair or wig; white neck-band and shirt ruffle, rich brown velvet drapery turned down over shoulder; greyish-brown background; lit from right.

Conservationback to top

Flaking in the hair laid; a pentiment along the edge of the chest and ruffle; surface cleaned and varnished, 1964.

Provenanceback to top

Bought, 1946, from Appleby Brothers and by them in Stirling 'a short time before'; believed to have been sold earlier that year from Dowell's in Edinburgh. [1]

1) Information from A. E. Haswell Miller, NPG archives.


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.

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