Ramsay's sensitive handling of pastel is evident in this mature self- portrait. He appears to have just turned round as though something to the left has caught his attention. Pastel was an ideal medium for describing the nuances of light and shadow contributing to the energetic character of the artist's face. Touches of pale blue in the shadows are echoed in his jacket and in the subtle colouring of the neutral background. Ramsay was influenced by the pastel technique of contemporary French artists like Quentin de la Tour, but was also dedicated to a natural style of portraiture based on direct observation.