About this artwork

This fine compositional study formed part of the preparation for Ramsay’s portrait of Hunter, now in the Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow. It is of particular interest as it shows the artist selecting and establishing the parameters of the composition he chose to paint, which he marks with lines of white chalk. Hunter was a renowned physician, anatomist and collector, who bequeathed his antiquities, books, paintings and natural history specimens to Glasgow University, where they form the Hunterian Museum. Hunter and Ramsay became friends and it is thought the artist may have acted as an adviser to Hunter on picture collecting.

  • title: Study for the Painting of William Hunter, 1718 - 1783. Anatomist
  • accession number: D 2017
  • artist: Allan RamsayScottish (1713 - 1784)
  • depicted: William Hunter
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • subject: Medicine and science
  • date created: About 1764
  • measurements: 40.50 x 30.40 cm
  • credit line: Lady Murray of Henderland Gift 1860 as a memorial of her husband, Lord Murray of Henderland

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.