Drawn to Paint

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Allan Ramsay

A Lady's Left Hand Holding a Rose. Study for the Painting 'The Artist's Wife: Margaret Lindsay of Evelick'
1758
This exceptionally delicate drawing was observed from life in preparation for Ramsay's famous portrait of his second wife, Margaret Lindsay. Here, Ramsay was studying how the fall of light affected the appearance of the hand, and where the shadows and highlights emerge to make the forms appear fully three-dimensional. Ramsay was a master portrait painter, who captured the refinement and grace of his sitters. Vast quantities of his preparatory drawings survive. The National Gallery owns around sixty of his studies of hands, and they all display a consistent concern for elegance, delicacy and detail. He made a number of small but significant changes to this hand when he came to recreate it in paint.
  • Credits Lady Murray of Henderland Gift 1860 as a memorial of her husband, Lord Murray of Henderland
  • Medium Red and white chalk on buff paper
  • Size 19.40 x 18.70 cm

Did you know?

The combination of red and white chalk used here was typical of Ramsay's working practice. He had used coloured chalks extensively during his second trip to Italy, and this drawing was made just after his return.