Hugh Ramsay was one of Australia’s most gifted artists. His career spanned scarcely a decade; he was, however, prolific, accomplished and mature beyond his years.

Hugh Ramsay (25 May 1877 – 5 March 1906); Australian artist.

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, son of John Ramsay. He moved with his family to Melbourne in 1878. Educated at Essendon Grammar School, and joined classes at the National Gallery of Victoria at age 16 under Lindsay Bernard Hall and became one of the most brilliant students ever trained there.

...Ramsay went to Europe in Sept. 1900 and was fortunate in finding a kindred spirit, George Washington Lambert, on the same vessel - the SS Persic. Arriving at Paris, he entered Académie Colarossi and was soon recognized as a student of great potential. He sent 5 pictures to the 1902 exhibition of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts and 4 of these were accepted and hung together. No greater compliment could have been paid to a young student.... Ramsay was introduced to Nellie Melba, who gave him a commission for a portrait and would no doubt have been able to help him in his career. Unfortunately Ramsay became ill in Paris, and it became necessary for him to return to the warmer climate of Australia and the opportunity to paint Melba was missed. Before leaving Europe, he had exhibited 4 pictures at the British Colonial Art Exhibition held in London at the Royal Institute galleries.

Returning to Australia, in spite of failing health, Ramsay succeeded in doing some remarkable work including The Sisters (1904), Lady with a Fan (possibly his most famous painting), the portrait of David Scott Mitchell, and his own portrait, now in the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. He gradually became weaker and died at “Clydebank” Buckley Street, Essendon...
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First Collected by

Suzan Hamer


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