About this artwork

Ramsay’s first-born son (also named Allan) died at fourteen months. None of the children from his first marriage survived into adulthood. Although life expectancy increased as the eighteenth century progressed, infant mortality rates remained high and childbirth was a dangerous episode in a woman’s life. All families were regularly exposed to these bereavements, and Ramsay’s household, even as it enjoyed his early professional success, was no exception. Years later Ramsay told Lady Bute how he had painted his dead son, and ‘while thoroughly occupied thus, felt no more concern than if the subject had been an indifferent one. All grief was gone. But when he laid down his pencil it returned.’ This painting was found amongst Ramsay’s possessions after his death.

Updated before 2020

see media
  • artist:
  • title:
    Infant Son of the Artist
  • date created:
    1741
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • measurements:
    32.00 x 27.30 cm (framed: 43.50 x 39.00 x 4.80 cm)
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Presented by Lady Murray of Henderland as a memorial to her husband, Lord Murray of Henderland 1860
  • accession number:
    NG 2295
  • gallery:
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve
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Allan Ramsay

Allan Ramsay