Allan Ramsay

Flora Macdonald [Fionnghal nighean Raghnaill ’ic Aonghais Òig], 1722 - 1790. Jacobite heroine (About 1747)

About this artwork

Flora Macdonald was a famous Jacobite heroine. After the defeat of Prince Charles Edward Stewart at Culloden, she helped him escape to the Isle of Skye by supplying him with female servant clothes. Although her involvement was brief, over time she has become one of the best-known characters of the Jacobite myth. This chalk drawing of Flora Macdonald was made by the famous eighteenth-century portrait painter Allan Ramsay. According to the inscription at the bottom, it was ‘for a picture’, but the only painting of Macdonald by Ramsay bears little resemblance to this sketch. Ramsay’s Flora takes on a classical pose and the rural costume and flowers in her hair, and the royal standard she proudly holds, are reminiscent of the portrayal of mythological shepherdesses.

Allan Ramsay

Allan Ramsay

Ramsay, named after his father who was a poet, was internationally renowned for his outstanding portraits. He attended the new Academy of St Luke in Edinburgh and then continued his artistic education in Italy. He visited Rome, studying at the French Academy and Naples. British residents commissioned many portraits from him and as soon as he returned to London he established a successful studio. He also returned to Edinburgh regularly. King George III appointed him King's painter. As a gifted conversationalist and writer of essays, Ramsay pursued his scholarly interests when injury to his right arm in 1773 cut short his painting career.