- Allan Ramsay
- Portrait of Clementina Maria Sophia Walkinshaw (1726-1802), half-length, wearing a white dress, a blue cloak, and pearls in her hair
- signed lower right: A Ramsay
- oil on canvas, in a painted oval
List of Portraits at Fettercairn House, 1924, p. 6 (as 'Portrait of a Lady'; Long Passage).
The following condition report is provided by Hamish Dewar Ltd who are external specialists and not employees of Sotheby's:
The canvas is lined and this is providing a secure and stable structural support. The canvas is
attached to a keyed wooden stretcher. There is an overall pattern of drying craquelure and
craquelure corresponding to the stretcher bars, all of which appear to be historic. The
craquelure pattern is slightly raised in parts but is entirely stable.
The paint surface has an uneven and discoloured varnish layer.
Inspection under ultraviolet light confirms how discoloured the varnish layers have become and
also shows retouchings, the most notable of which are:
1) minimal lines on the sitter's face corresponding to the craquelure pattern,
2) an inverted 'V' shaped area, measuring approximately 4 x 1.5 cm, and
3) an area on the extreme right framing edge, on the sitter's neck, which measures
approximately 5 x 1.5 cm.
There are other small scattered retouchings, most of which appear to have been very carefully
applied. There may be further retouchings which are not identifiable under ultraviolet light
beneath the opaque and discoloured varnish layers.
The painting would therefore appear to be in good and stable condition and could benefit
from cleaning, to remove the discoloured varnish layers, as well as the careful replacement of
the retouchings and revarnishing.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."
Clementina Walkinshaw, whose father, John Walkinshaw of Barrowfield, had fought in the 1715 Jacobite Rebellion for ‘the Old Pretender’, was the mistress of Bonnie Prince Charlie. Clementina first met Charles Edward Stuart when she nursed him back to health, apparently from a cold, at her uncle’s home at Bannockburn in January 1746, but it was not until November 1752 that she travelled to Belgium to live with the Prince. The attachment was not a happy one, with Charles disillusioned, alcoholic and possessive of Clementina, though neglectful of their only child, Charlotte. Reports told of unpleasant public arguments and violence towards Clementina who, in 1760, escaped with her daughter to Paris, and spent the next twelve years in French convents. Although Charlotte and her father were eventually reunited, she died just under two years after his death in 1788, aged only 36. Clementina, never reconciled with the Prince, outlived them both by over ten years, seeking refuge from the French Revolution in Switzerland.
A second unsigned version of similar dimensions is recorded at the Heinz Archive, London, in the collection of Anthony George Maxtone-Graham of Cultoguhey Crieff, Perth.1
1. See F.J.A. Skeet, The Life and Letters of HRH Charlotte Stuart Duchess of Albany, London 1932, reproduced between p. 6 and 7.