Scottish painter, eldest son of the poet Alan Ramsey (1685-1758).
Studied in London, Rome, Naples, first worked in Edinburgh, and later in Italy (1755-1757).
In 1757, after a portrait of George III, the then Prince of Wales, Ramsay became the court portraitist.
In 1762 he moved to London, where he obtained a permanent job at the court.
Although the work at the court provided generous and steady income, this has caused the loss of ramsees artistic individuality. All his best work was done prior to the court appointment. His style was simple and sophisticated, it is particularly manifested in the portraits of women.
In the work of Ramsey much desire to master the experience of modern Italian and French painting. His early work, "Samuel Torriano" (1738) is close to the portraits of the Neapolitan Solimena, which he studied late his paintings - a portrait of his wife
(1755, Edinburgh, national gallery) or "the Countess Emilia Kildare" (1765, Liverpool, Walker gallery) - attracted by its almost French grace, delicate silver color. Grace of composition and delicacy of execution scenic paintings Ramsey can consider it a predecessor of the great English portrait painters of the following decades, Reynolds, and Gainsborough.
Because in addition to portraits of members of the Royal family he was required to create many copies of paintings from the Royal collection, Ramsay had to refuse foreign orders. Painting became for him a mechanical process, until an accident (hand injury) in 1773 forced him to leave art in General. However, the best picture of Ramsey will forever remain among the highest achievements of British art.
He was elected a fellow of the Royal Academy and awarded a knighthood.