The Three Alans

The visit to Scotland has got me thinking about Alan Ramsay again.  Somewhere I’ve got a copy of the painting he did of his dead son.  He was distraught at the news of the child’s death and almost immediately sat down to paint him. A friend reported that while he was working all signs of distress left him. He became entirely absorbed in the business of the portrait.  And when it was done he once again relapsed into grief. It’s an extraordinary picture, painted on unstretched canvas.  I’d sketched out an idea for a radio play based on the incident. I remember at the time being stumped by the problem of distinguishing between the three generations of Ramsay men – Ramsay, his father and his son were all called Alan. My notes don’t seem to be on the computer. Which suggests there’s a longhand notebook somewhere. I’m going to dig it out.

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