‘Australia I think does not yet realise what she has lost in him but she will in time & I & some others I know will do what we can to make his memory live.’
Letter from John Longstaff to John Ramsay, 3 October 1906
It is with the artist John Longstaff’s words of condolence, quoted above, that the Hugh Ramsay exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra draws to a close. Ramsay (1877–1906) was a promising Australian Edwardian painter who lived and worked for a time in Europe at the start of the twentieth century. His works constitute some of the most innovative and visually arresting examples of early-twentieth-century painting in Australian collections, while his sketches and illustrated letters tell of the experiences of youth and travel in the exuberant period that preceded the Great War.