This 1771 portrait of Dr. David Ramsay by Charles Willson Peale has recently been acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.
David Ramsay was the nation's “most respected historian” during the early Republic. His major works, History of the American Revolution (1789) and History of South Carolina (1809), were widely read and became much-consulted treatises of early American nationalism. A native Pennsylvanian, Ramsay trained as a physician before moving to Charleston, South Carolina, where he achieved social and civic prominence. He volunteered his medical skills to the, American cause during the Revolution and later became a member of the 'state convention to ratify the Constitution.
Charles Willson Peale and David Ramsay met in Philadelphia in 1771, when Ramsay was studying medicine at the College of Philadelphia with 8enjamin Rush Peale's sister, Margaret married Ramsay's brother Nathanial that same year. This painting may reveal the familial connection as Ramsay is shown in a private pose, looking off to the side in contemplation.-- National Portrait Gallery