Milne Ramsey was a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1863-1867, before traveling to Paris and entering the atelier of Leon Bonnat. Ramsey remained in France until 1882, where he established his reputation as a painter of still lifes of flowers, fruit and kitchen subjects. The artist had a studio at 75 Boulevarde Clichy, which he shared for a period with his fellow American Edwin Blashfield. During his time in Paris he was received at the court of Louis Napoleon, and was host to many Americans visitors. During his time abroad he began collecting costumes, furniture, objects dating from approximately the 13th century to the period of Louis XV.