Hugh Ramsay Symposium - Trumble (Director, NPG) - Melba + Ramsay
Hugh Ramsay was introduced to Madame Melba by Ambrose Patterson in London in 1902. While ill-health, and an early return to Australia, prevented him from taking up Melba's invitation to paint her portrait, soon afterwards, however, in December of that year, Melba staged an exhibition of his pictures at Myoora, her house in Toorak, and also commissioned Ramsay to paint her father, David Mitchell, and a niece. It was Ramsay's misfortune that he was never able fully to exploit this enormously influential source of pamatronage, for Melba herself was well aware of the extent to which she formed a hub for expatriate Australian artists and musicians seeking to make their name in the imperial capital. She was also unapologetically strategic in aligning their efforts with her own knack for publicity—soon to be thrown behind the fledgling Gramophone Company, who for decades acknowledged Melba's contribution to their success (and not the other way around). The case of Melba and Ramsay, in other words, sheds a penetrating ray of light on the Edwardian cult of celebrity.
Art & Artists
not titled [Hugh Ramsay in London].
Miss Nellie Patterson