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Allan Ramsay, 1713 - 1784. Artist (Self-portrait) About 1755 - 1756

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
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.

Glossary Open

Medium/ media

The material from which an artwork is made, e.g. oil paint, bronze, paper. 'Medium' is also used for the liquid element of paint in which a colouring agent is carried. 'Mixed media' is used when an artist combines several different materials in an artwork.


A drawing material made from ground pigment bound with enough gum or resin to hold it together in a stick, often smudged on paper to produce soft, atmospheric effects.

Medium/ media, Pastel


  • Acc. No. PG 727
  • Medium Pastel on paper
  • Size 40.60 x 28.20 cm (framed: 54.94 x 43.18 x 4.44 cm)
  • Credit Presented by the Royal Scottish Academy 1910