Allan Ramsay

Anne Bayne, Mrs Allan Ramsay, d. 1743. Wife of the artist Allan Ramsay (About 1739)

About this artwork

Ramsay set this portrait, showing his first wife, within a painted oval. His careful handling of the play of light and shadow creates the illusion of a real person existing in palpable space. It reflects his careful observation and creates a freshness and vivacity unmatched in his earlier portraits. The stiffness of Anne's pose suggests this is an early work, probably painted in Edinburgh at the time of the couple's engagement. They married in 1739 and Anne died four years later giving birth to their third child. Anne's father was Professor of Municipal Law at Edinburgh University and her great-grandfather was the architect Sir William Bruce.

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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.