John Verney (1699-1741) judge
- About the work
About the artist
Allan Ramsay was born in Edinburgh. After two years of study in Italy, he settled in London in 1738. From the 1740s until the emergence of Reynolds as a rival in the mid-1750s, he maintained a reputation as Britain’s leading portraitist. He was also one of the wealthiest painters, amassing a fortune of about £40,000. In May 1757, a few months after his return to England from a three-year stay in Italy, Ramsay received a commission from John, Third Earl of Bute, to paint the young Prince of Wales (the future George III). It was the success of this portrait which led George III to appoint Ramsay as his Principal Painter. Ramsay’s love of Italy did not diminish with age. He died at Dover in August 1784, returning from his last Italian journey.
George Vertue was born in the parish of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London. His parents served in the court of James II and his father may have later become a tailor. He was first apprenticed to a silver engraver and later to Flemish engraver Michael Vandergucht. His early work includes plates after Kneller, whose academy he attended from 1711. Vertue served as official engraver to the Society of Antiquaries (1717-56). In the 1720s he concentrated on portrait frontispieces, producing over 120 in total. From 1727 he was engraver to Oxford University. Vertue was also a publisher and ran a print shop near Drury Lane. In 1712 he began gathering information for a publication on the history of art in Britain, which remained unfinished at his death.