Dennis Ramsay (1925-2009 British)
Oil on Masonite
Dimensions: 8 x 10''
Framed Dimensions: 13'' x 15''
Dennis Ramsay, Lemons
Dennis Ramsay was descended from a Scottish family that included the 18th and 19th century artists Allan and James Ramsay. He was born in London on 15 March 1925 to parents James Ramsay, a Rolls Royce engineer, and Elizabeth nee Henry. Although christened Francis Dennis he assumed his second name in later life.
He was educated at Worthing High School for Boys, and then from 1940 at Worthing School of Art where he studied architecture and became a skilled model maker. During the second World War he acted as an ARP messenger before serving in the RAF towards the end of the war. He then went on to study architecture at University College London between 1947 and 1950.
The first exhibition of Ramsay’s models was held at Arundel Castle and included a model of the State Coach to be used in the forthcoming coronation. This model was of such excellence that, exceptionally, it was accepted by the Queen as a gift.
Between 1953 and 1957 Ramsay studied in Florence under Pietro Annigoni, perhaps the world’s most renowned portrait painter of the 20th century. Annigoni introduced Ramsay to the oil tempura technique dating from the 16th century which requires the artist to mix his own colours from pigment powder, oil, varnish, egg yolk, and a preservative. Ramsay discovered that Scotch whisky made an excellent preservative. The colours produced in this way have outstanding vitality and permanence.
During his career Ramsay painted many still life subjects, but he also produced much-praised religious works and portraits of such notable people as Princess Alexandra, King Faisal of Iraq, Sir Winston Churchill (posthumously), Sir Robert Menzies, and Prince Philip, the latter commemorating Prince Philip’s 80th birthday.
Examples of Ramsay’s work hang in galleries and private collections throughout the world as well as in universities, schools, churches