The architect Robert Adam’s period of study in Rome, from 1755-1757, coincided with the artist Allan Ramsay’s second stay in that city. In letters home Adam referred to Ramsay cheekily as “Old Mumpy” and “Black-beard Allan”. Nevertheless, he visited the Ramsays regularly, explaining that “nothing could be genteeler than their weekly conversations . . . and as Mrs Ramsay is of so good a family and Mumpy himself so rich they are no discredit.” He joined the artist on sketching expeditions and Ramsay painted his portrait in 1755.