In this scene Nasmyth has placed the poet in front of the Auld Brig o' Doon at Alloway in Ayrshire, close to where Burns grew up. In Burns's poem 'Tam o' Shanter' of 1790, Tam's brave grey mare Maggie must reach this bridge and cross the running stream to evade the witches and warlocks pursuing her drunken master. It is said that Nasmyth conceived of this pose during a walk out from Edinburgh to Roslin early one morning, when he sketched Burns while the latter was admiring the beauty of the scene. This painting became the inspiration for many statues of the poet around the world.


  • Title: Robert Burns, 1759 - 1796. Poet
  • Creator: Alexander Nasmyth
  • Date Created: 1828
  • Physical Location: Scottish National Portrait Gallery
  • Location Created: Scotland
  • Physical Dimensions: h 61.10, w 44.50 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: https://www.nationalgalleries.org/copyright-image-licensing
  • External Link: See this work at nationalgalleries.org
  • Medium: Oil on panel
  • Art Genre: Portrait
  • Art Form: Painting
  • Support: Panel
  • Depicted Location: Auld Brig o' Doon
  • Depicted Person: Robert Burns
  • Depicted Topic: Bridge

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