Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of a Lady of the Linlithgow Family 1740s

Allan Ramsay (1713-84)

Portrait of a Lady of the Linlithgow Family, Allan Ramsay
Oil on canvas
18th Century
50 x 40 inches 127 x 101.2 cm
Hersey, Dowager Countess of Linlithgow (d. 1937)
The sitter is thought to be Lady Anne Livingstone daughter of James Livingstone, 5th earl of Linlithgow and Margaret, daughter of John Hay, 12th Earl of Erroll. She married in 15 June 1724 William Boyd, 4th Earl of Kilmarnock who was beheaded in 1746. She was the mother of James Boyd, who in 1758 (by the death of his maternal aunt, Mary, Countess of Erroll) he became Earl of Erroll.

This painting can be dated to the early 1740s, shortly after the artist's return from his first visit to Italy, when he was practising in London and being patronised by Scottish aristocratic families. It is closely comparable with his portrait of Mrs Byne Beak (signed and dated 1743), who also holds a posy of flowers and is seated three-quarter length in a landscape, which was sold at Christie''s, 17 November 1989, Lot.46. His Italian training is evident in the sophisticated colouring, the soporific landscape background and the sureness of the design. This is fused, however, with a sense of an individual likeness and decorative charm that are very much his own. It was at around this time that Ramsay first employed the specialist drapery painter, Joseph Vanhaecken.
Philip Mould Ltd, 18-19 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5LU.Copyright Philip Mould Ltd.