portrait of mrs mackintosh c17356 by allan ramsay

Portrait of Mrs. Mackintosh c.1735-6, by Allan Ramsay.



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We are pleased to offer one of the earliest Allan Ramsay (1713-1784) portraits still available for private collection. This the 6th earliest work known by Ramsay and the earliest depiction of a Jacobite. Entitled ‘Mrs Mackintosh’ in Alastair Stuart’s catalogue raisonné of the artist, this half-length oil on canvas arguably depicts Ramsay’s earliest portrait of a Jacobite. Painted in Edinburgh in 1735-36, the young woman models a simple sacque dress with billowing sleeves, the slightly squared neckline trimmed in lace and also at the cuff. The pale expanse of her exposed decolletage contrasts to the lively flushed pink of her cheeks and lips.
The simplicity of the gown focuses the viewer’s gaze upon the sitter’s colourful floral sash. Featured are white and yellow roses, red chrysanthemums, an orange carnation, several white thistles, and various blue and pink flowers. The choice of such an array was a premeditated one. Veiled in the symbology of flowers, the feminine delicacy of the blooms belied their true political implications: an allegiance to the rebel Jacobite cause. Jacobites were dissidents against the British monarchy whose aim was to restore the Stuart dynasty to the throne. The cause consisted of largely Scottish nobility who depended upon symbols to disclose their secret loyalties.
Most notable in this painting is the white rose, the most famous symbol of Jacobitism, seen underneath the young woman’s breast; the white rose’s popularity was drawn from its similarity to the white cockade, a ribboned pin signifying loyalty to a specific cause. Similarly, the orange carnation, seen lower down, is a symbol of Charles Stuart (1720-88). The carnation has a twofold Jacobite mythos, first being a wordplay between ‘carnation’ and ‘coronation’ of the Stuarts, and secondly from the story that carnations bloomed early in January following the birth of Bonnie Prince Charles.
Furthermore, the thistles seen interspersed on the bottom half of the sash had indeed been Scotland’s national emblem since the Middle Ages, but adopted an illicit meaning in Jacobite contexts as representing the Stuart’s claim to the Scottish throne. The time of the portrait’s
execution is poised between two significant Jacobite dates, the failed rebellion of 1715 and Charles Stuart’s final futile uprising of 1745.
Identification of Identification of the subject is difficult. Her historic description as Mrs Mackintosh is challenging as there is little surviving documentation that could hint towards one individual. Due to the date of the painting, and pursuant to the proposal of Mackintosh, it could be suggested that this is the portrait of the wife of either the nineteenth or twentieth Chief of Clan Mackintosh, or a close relative with seniority in the family. The Mackintoshes were ardently loyal to Jacobitism so it would be unsurprising to see a member of the clan in such emblematic garb.
SIZE: 40.5 x 32 inches framed.
PROVENANCE: *Collection of Keith Sanderson, Edinburgh.
*Christie's, Kenneth Sanderson's Sale, 14 December 1945. Lot 74.
*Collection of Lewis Charles Wallach (died 1964) The Grange, Hampshire.
Thence by descent.
Internal Ref: Ramsay


Height = 103 cm (41")
Width = 81 cm (32")
Depth = 5 cm (2")

This item is SOLD and is no longer available to purchase.

* This item has been sold, though you can still email the seller if you wish

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