The Sunday Times Critiques Bonnie Prince Charlie

November 16 2020

Image of The Sunday Times Critiques Bonnie Prince Charlie

Picture: The Sunday Times

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Sunday Times and The Scotsman ran a curious story yesterday regarding the National Galleries of Scotland’s recently acquired portrait of Bonnie Prince Charlie by Allan Ramsay

The story revolves around claims made by an art consultant Robin Nicholson who says the work is not by Ramsay but Cosmo Alexander. Nicholson, who is curator of the liquor company Drambuie’s art collection, has said “the painting is well executed, but not [a] Ramsay. It totally lacks the effervescent effect of light that became Ramsay's trademark." 

The portrait was brought to light in a 2014 BBC2 Programme made by AHN’s very own Bendor Grosvenor. The  overlooked portrait had been in the collection of the Earls of Weymss and March. Coincidentally, Nicholson’s 2002 book on the portraiture on the Bonnie Price had seemingly made no special note of the picture. 

It is quite hard to place this breathing likeness alongside the work of Cosmo Alexander, whose figures are notable for their mannequin-like qualities. The attribution to Ramsay in full has been supported scholar Duncan Thomson, a former director of the SNPG and Ramsay expert. The National Galleries of Scotland too have publicly supported the attribution to Ramsay.

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