About this artwork

This tender and informal portrait of his second wife illustrates Ramsay's mature style, following his second visit to Italy (1754-7). He captures beautifully the fall of light on her face and on the pretty lace and fabrics of her clothes. She holds one of the flowers she was arranging in their London home as she turns towards her husband and looks out to meet our gaze. The couple had eloped in 1752 and married in the Canongate Kirk, Edinburgh. Margaret was never forgiven by her father, Sir Alexander Lindsay of Evelick, Perthshire, for marrying what he considered a lowly, albeit highly successful, artist.

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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.