National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Allan Ramsay of Kinkell (1713-1784)

Allan Ramsay of Kinkell (1713-1784)

Portrait painter

Allan Ramsay studied languages and drawing before training with an artist in London. On his return to Edinburgh he set up as a portrait painter where he later inherited the house built by his father, the poet Allan Ramsay, in what is now Ramsay Gardens. In 1736 he travelled to France and Italy studying art and antiquities in Florence, Rome, Naples and Venice. He went on to establish a practice in London and earned a reputation for hard work and elegant portraiture. He was appointed principal painter to George III and also spent time in Edinburgh with his family. Following a serious injury he turned to literary interests and published works on archaeology and other topics. He died at Dover on 10 August 1784 after a visit to Italy and was buried at St Marylebone, Middlesex. There are over 230 of his paintings in public art collections. They are shown on the Allan Ramsay page of the Art UK website.

Birth in 1713

Allan Ramsay was the son of Allan Ramsay, piriwigemaker (periwig maker) and Christian Ross. The entry in the Old Parish Register for Edinburgh gives the date of baptism as 6 October 1713. The witnesses (W) were John Symmor, William Mitchell and Robert Moir, mer[chan]ts burgesses and William Mitchell, baxter. The letters in the right-hand column of this page refer to congregations: NK was North Kirk.

Baptism entry for Allan Ramsay

Baptism entry for Allan Ramsay (41 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 685-1/15, page 164

Second  marriage in 1752

In 1739 Allan Ramsay married Anne Bayne, daughter of Alexander Bayne and Mary Carstairs. She died on 4 February 1743 at the time of the birth of their third child. He married Marg[aret] Lindsay on 1 March 1752. The entry in the Old Parish Register for Canongate records their names and that they were both residenters etc. This implies that they lived in the parish.

Marriage entry for Allan Ramsay

Marriage entry for Allan Ramsay (29 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 685-3/15