Requires Photography

Portrait of a Lady as a Shepherdess

late 1740s-early 1750s
Allan Ramsay (Scottish, 1713–1784)


50 x 40 in. (127 x 101.6 cm)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Oil on canvas

On View

Alan and Simone Hartman Galleries (Gallery 241B)





This painting is an early work by Ramsay, a leading mid-18th-century British portraitist. Ramsay derived the sitter’s pose from a 17th-century portrait by Anthony van Dyck, the influential Flemish artist who served as court portraitist to Charles I in the 1630s and early ’40s. The Young woman is shown in the guise of a shepherdess, a convention in portraiture that resonated with romantic notions of pastoral simplicity popular in England at the time. The sitter may be Margaret, Ramsay’s second wife, with whom he eloped in 1752.


Mrs. Colt (possibly Mrs. Jane Colt, Gartsherrie House, Scotland?). Lucius O’Callaghan (b. 1877 – d. 1954), Dublin; October 12, 1956, posthumous O’Callaghan sale, Christie’s, London, lot 203, to Agnew’s, London; 1957, sold by Agnew’s to a private collection, England. January 24, 2012, anonymous sale, Christie’s, South Kensington, lot 265, to Philip Mould, London; 2012, sold by Philip Mould to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 24, 2012)

Credit Line

Henry H. and Zoe Oliver Sherman Fund