John Ramage, Miniature Painter

(fl. 1763-1787)

Miniature Painter

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

A native of Dublin, he was a pupil in the Dublin Society's Schools, which he entered in 1763. He does not appear to have practised in Ireland, but early in life went to America, having married shortly before his departure Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Liddell, a London merchant. In 1775 he was established in Boston as an artist and goldsmith, and in that year was made a second lieutenant of the Royal Irish Volunteers formed by the Irish merchants of that city. He served throughout the war against the Colonials, and in 1780 he was in New York where he had a studio at No. 25 William Street. There, in October, 1789, Washington sat to him for a miniature. Washington's diary records, under date 3rd October, 1789: "Sat for Mr. Ramage near two hours to-day, who was drawing a miniature picture of me for Mrs. Washington." This miniature passed, after Mrs. Washington's death, through various hands and in 1901 was in the possession of R. H. S. Stabler, of Baltimore, and afterwards in that of Mrs. Morris S. Beach, Pickshill, N.Y. It represents Washington in full uniform, without hat, and is in a chased gold frame made by the artist himself.

Ramage having become involved in debt through his too great readiness in assisting his friends, was obliged, in order to avoid arrest, to leave New York. He settled in Montreal, where he passed the rest of his life. The date of his death is not known. He lost his first wife in 1784, and in 1787 he married, secondly, Catherine, daughter of John Collins of New York.

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