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A Portrait Without Likeness

Alison Watt


Allan Ramsay, The Artist’s Wife,  Margaret Lindsay of Evelick, 1758 – 60. Oil on canvas. National Galleries of Scotland

Alison Watt, Centifolia, 2019 Oil on canvas © the artist.












An exhibition of new work by Alison Watt, made in response to the female portraiture of the eighteenth-century painter, Allan Ramsay.  Art historian Tom Normand writes: “The fascination with flowers is uncommon within Watt’s oeuvre, but she has recently been engaged with the works of Allan Ramsay held in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.  Most particularly she has reflected upon his painting The Artist’s Wife, Margaret Lindsay of Evelick, painted between 1758 and 1760.  This is an exquisite and mysterious portrait.  At one level a tender study of his second wife, some 13 years younger than the artist, at another a poignant essay on the enigma of human passion.”  The exhibition is accompanied by a book which features a conversation between Alison Watt and Julie Lawson, the curator of the exhibition, along with contributions by Tom Normand and Andrew O’Hagan.

The still life can be very intimate… By its very nature it is linked to the portrait.
The still life is a portrait without likeness. (Alison Watt)

Exhibition organised by the National Galleries of Scotland, in association with High Life Highland.

29 January – 2 April 2022
All Art Galleries