Cuban-born entrepreneur Rafael Jorge, who moved to the United States in 1989 and has a keen interest in art, bought the picture and discovered the signature – “A. Ramsey” – hidden by the frame.
To be confirmed as an Allan Ramsey portrait – the 18th century portrait of a lady which shows a striking resemblance to Flora MacDonald (pictured above) was discovered in a gallery in Palm Beach and may be of artistic and historical importance.
Purchased on an educated hunch in exchange for $1,500 and an old coin collection, the painting (pictured below) could be worth $250,000, if its authenticity is approved.
While experts are in general agreement that Jorge’s painting is from the mid-18th century, and that it was executed by Allan Ramsay, debate remains about whether the portrait subject is Flora MacDonald.
Clues suggest the picture is of Flora MacDonald. For example, the bodice of the portrait’s subject is adorned with a white rose, symbol of Prince Charles and his followers. Although Flora’s father was a tacksman — a medieval version of a farm manager — she was taken in the care of prosperous kinsmen after the death of her father and the abduction of her mother by a determined suitor.
Finally, her guardians sent her to boarding school in Edinburgh’s Old Stamp Office, close to High Street, and adjacent to Castle Hill, where Allan Ramsay was at the same period painting and living in his father’s house.
The painting is currently being restored.