CHARLES WILLSON PEALE (AMERICAN 1741-1827). PORTRAIT OF DR. DAVID RAMSAY OF SOUTH CAROLINA, CIRCA 1785-1790, TOGETHER WITH A SIGNED LETTER DATED PHILADELPHIA, 1781.Est. $10,000-$15,000
Sold: $36,000 ($30,000)
David Ramsay (1749-1815), a physician, statesman, and author settled in Charleston, South Carolina, establishing a large medical practice and marrying Martha Laurens, daughter of Henry Laurens. Laurens was a wealthy planter, who became President of the Second Continental Congress. Over the course of his career, Ramsay served as a South Carolina legislator, field surgeon for the militia, delegate to the Continental Congress, and a member and President of the South Carolina Senate. He is considered to be one of the first major historians of the American Revolutionary War. This portrait, one of three by the Peale family, was likely painted while Ramsay served as Chairman of the Congress of the Confederation (successor to the Second Continental Congress) in the absence of John Hancock.
Oil on canvas, 23 x 19 inches. Unsigned.
The autograph letter is addressed to Major General Benjamin Lincoln, appointed in 1778 as Commander of the Continental Army’s Southern Department and responsible for the garrison at Charleston. At the time Ramsay wrote to Lincoln regarding his military activities in Carolina, the General was marching south to engage the British at Yorktown, where he was Washington’s second-in-command. One page, double-sided letter on laid paper with remnants of a red wax seal, 8 ¼ x 13 ¼ inches.
Provenance: By descent in the Ramsay Family; Sumpter Priddy Antiques, Alexandria, Virginia, 2002.