Ramsay, Scottish portrait painter, was the eldest son of the poet Allan
Ramsay (1685-1758). He was trained in Italy, and worked first in Edinburgh.
From 1757, when he painted his first portrait of George
III, then Prince of Wales, Ramsay was increasingly in demand as a royal
portraitist. In 1762, he settled in London, and in 1767 was appointed portrait
painter to George III.
Though this appointment provided generous and steady income, it brought
Ramsay to the decline of his artistic individuality. All his best works
were fulfilled before the royal appointment. His style used to be simple
and delicate, he especially excelled in portraits of women. As he had a
lot of commissions for royal portraits, he had to drop the rest of his
practice. Also his art weakened, the painting became like a mechanical
process for him, until an accident to his arm in 1773 prevented him
from painting altogether.
Ramsay’s best paintings however will always be among the supreme achievements
of British art.
The Life and Art of Allan Ramsay by A. Smart. London. 1952.
Painting of Europe. XIII-XX centuries. Encyclopedic Dictionary.
Moscow. Iskusstvo. 1999.