Allan Ramsay

Study for the Portrait of Horace Walpole (later 4th Earl of Orford, 1717 - 1797) (About 1759)

About this artwork

This elegant study illustrates Ramsay's fluent drawing style. He conveys Horace Walpole's appearance and informal pose, seated at his writing desk, with both sureness and swiftness. The blue paper complements his confident handling of black chalk for the main outlines, with highlights added in white. The drawing relates to Ramsay's portrait of Walpole in the Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University, painted in 1759. Horace Walpole, the son of the Prime Minister Robert Walpole, was renowned as an antiquarian, writer and collector. He was also a great admirer Ramsay's work.

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.