Ramsay's portrait of Bonnie Prince Charlie - official!

April 29 2015

Image of Ramsay's portrait of Bonnie Prince Charlie - official!

Picture: BG/Earl of Wemyss

I'm off to London today to give a lecture on Jacobite portraits. (Greetings from the train, as we pass through York: the Minster is looking very fine today, and in the sidings - treat of treats - is a steam train). I was checking a few dates for my talk last night, and found, wonderfully, that the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry for Allan Ramsay has been updated to include his newly discovered portrait of Bonnie Prince Charlie (above, the one I made a TV programme about last year). Here is the new paragraph:

Ramsay never forgot Scotland and three visits he made between 1745 and 1748 may serve to chart his social progress. He was in Edinburgh when the Young Pretender entered on 16 September 1745 and when the Guse-Pye house was briefly threatened as a site of strategic importance; but during this visit of perhaps three months he displayed a practical tolerance towards his sitters, who included the wife of the solicitor-general, Mrs Robert Dundas, and Lord and Lady Ogilvy, the most enthusiastic Jacobites (all in priv. colls.). It was on this visit to Edinburgh that Ramsay also painted Charles Edward, the Young Pretender, most probably in October 1745. The portrait, which is in the collection of the earl of Wemyss, was categorically identified as a likeness of Charles in 2014. The only known likeness of the Young Pretender made while he was in Britain, it was engraved by Robert Strange and became an important image of Jacobite propaganda in 1745–6.

I didn't expect the DNB to move this quickly, so I'm delighted.

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