Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of Susanna Campbell 1749

Allan Ramsay (1713-84)

Portrait of Susanna Campbell, Allan Ramsay
Oil on canvas
18th Century
30 x 25 inches 76 x 63 cm
Presumably commissioned as a marriage portrait (Smart 2000 p.87); Family of Campbell of Monzie; ... Christie''s November 25th 1977 (lot 77); Christie''s July 24th 1980 (lot 132); R & J Jones, London; Barry Byrne Sale, Christie''s Sydney July 15th 1992 (lot 759)
John Ingamells ''Allan Ramsay A Complete Catalogue of his Paintings'' Yale 2000, p.87 catalogue no. 79, (ill.) p.297 fig.307
This portrait demonstrates Ramsay's debt to Thomas Hudson, whose portraits on this model were the dominant London fashion in the 1740s and early 1750s. Variants on this composition with the bust depicted side-on, three-quarter profile and Van Dyck dress are encountered frequently among Hudson's followers, and the blue and oyster costume is probably the work of their shared drapery painter Joseph Van Aken.

It is noted (Ingamells 2000 p.161) that the dress in this portrait appears to derives from a drawing by Van Aken now in the National Gallery of Scotland (NGS D.2189), and is also used by Ramsay in Mary Bond c.1749, Ann Craigie 1750, Mary Nisbet 1750 and a portrait of an unknown sitter. Within this format, however, Ramsay's own style and talent assert themselves, and Susanna Campbell conveys a sense of character that is often absent in the elder painter's work.

Susanna Erskine was the daughter of Charles Lord Tinwald. In the year of this portrait she married Colonel Robert Campbell of Monzie (c.1721-1790) MP for Argyllshire.
Philip Mould Ltd, 18-19 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5LU.Copyright Philip Mould Ltd.