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Robert Burns junior and William Nicol Burns

Image Rights Holder:
Dumfries & Galloway Museums Service
Project:
:Future Museum
Material:
paper
Dimensions:
width: 390 mm, length: 340 mm
What:
Burnsiana
Subject:
photograph
Who:
DMBN264n (Artist)
When:
19th Century
Where:
Background:
Baldwin, Gordon “Looking at Photographs - A Guide to Technical Terms”. London: British Museum Publications Limited, 1991; Burns, Robert “The Complete Letters of Robert Burns”, Ed. James A Mackay. Ayr: Alloway Publishing Limited, 1987; Burns, Robert “The Complete Poetical Work of Robert Burns 1759 – 1796”, Ed. Dr James A Mackay. Ayr: Alloway Publishing Limited, 1993; Burns, Robert “The Letters of Robert Burns”, 2 vols., Ed. J de Lancey Ferguson and G Ross Roy. Oxford: Clarendon, 1985; Burns, Robert “The Poems and Songs of Robert Burns”, 3 vols., Ed. James Kinsley. Oxford: Clarendon, 1968; Crawford, Robert “The Bard – Robert Burns, a Biography”. London: Jonathan Cape, 2009; Dumfries and Galloway Courier “Interesting Sale – The effects left by the late Mrs Burns at the sale on Thursday and Friday last …”. Dumfries: 16 April 1834; Dumfries and Galloway Standard and Advertiser “Relics of Burns, As Collected By The Secretary Of The Burns Statue Fund Exhibition At The Bazaar, On The 14th, 15th And 16th Sept.”. Dumfries: 11 September 1880; Dumfries Burns Club “Minute Book of the Burns Club at Dumfries – 17th January 1820 No.1”. Dumfries Museum Collection DUMFM:0198.422: Manuscript copy, on display at Robert Burns House, Dumfries; Gibson, James “The Bibliography of Robert Burns, with Biographical and Bibliographical Notes and Sketches of Burns Clubs, Monuments and Statues”. Kilmarnock: James M’Kie, 1881; Gilfillan, Reverend George (editor) “The National Burns”. Glasgow, Edinburgh and London: William Mackenzie, 1878; Goldman, Paul “Looking at Prints, Drawings and Watercolours - A Guide to Technical Terms”. London: British Museum Publications Limited, 1988; Grose, Francis “The Antiquities of Scotland”. London: S Hooper, 1789; Hogg, Patrick Scott “Robert Burns – The Patriot Bard”. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 2008; Lindsay, Maurice “Robert Burns – The Man, his Work, the Legend”. New York and London: Robert Hale and St Martin’s Press, 1979; Lindsay, Maurice “The Burns Encyclopaedia”, 3rd edition. London and New York: Robert Hale and St Martin’s Press, 1980; Lockwood, David “Celebrate the Legend – Discover Robert Burns in Dumfries and Galloway”. Dumfries: Dumfries and Galloway Council, 2009; Mackay, James A “Burns-Lore of Dumfries and Galloway”. Ayr: Alloway Publishing Limited, 1988; Mackay, James “Burnsiana”. Ayr: Alloway Publishing Limited, 1988; Mackay, James “A Biography of Robert Burns”. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1992; McDowall, William “History of the Burgh of Dumfries, with Notices of Nithsdale, Annandale and the Western Border”, 4th edition. Dumfries: T C Farries and Company Limited, 1986; McIntyre, Ian “Dirt & Deity – A Life of Robert Burns”. London: HarperCollins, 1995; “Memorial Catalogue of the Burns Exhibition held in the Galleries of the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, 1896”. Glasgow: William Hodge and Company, 1898; Skinner, Basil “Burns: Authentic Likenesses”, 2nd edition. Ayr: Alloway Publishing, 1990; Smith, Graham “Robert Burns the Exciseman”. Ayr: Alloway Publishing, 1989; Town Council of the Royal Burgh of Dumfries (Issued) “Catalogue of Exhibits with Official Handbook of Burns’ House Dumfries and other memories of the National Poet”. Dumfries: Robert Dinwiddie, 1944; Welsh, Alex (Edited) “Handbook of the Dumfries Burns Club”. Dumfries: Robert Dinwiddie, 1955; Westwood, Peter J “Genealogical Charts of the Family of Robert Burns and Descending Families”. Kilmarnock: The Burns Federation, 1997; Westwood, Peter J “Jean Armour Mrs Robert Burns – An Illustrated Biography”. Dumfries: Creedon Publications, 1996; Westwood, Peter J (Edited) “Jean Armour My Life and Times with Robert Burns”. Dumfries: Creedon Publications, 2001; Westwood, Peter J (Edited) “The Definitive Illustrated Companion to Robert Burns”, 8 vols. : National Burns Collection Partnership, 2004; Westwood, Peter J “The Deltiology of Robert Burns”. Dumfries: Creedon Publications, 1994; Wilson, Professor and Chambers, Robert “Land of Burns, a series of landscapes and portraits”. Glasgow and London: Blackie and Son, 1846; Wood, J Maxwell “Robert Burns and the Riddell Family”. Dumfries: Robert Dinwiddie, 1922
Description:

An early monochrome photographic print, from a calotype negative, of a grouped studio portrait of two of the sons of Robert Burns.

 

Robert Burns first met his wife, Jean Armour in Mauchline in 1784. The date of their marriage is unclear and their relationship was opposed by her parents, but on the third of September 1776 she gave birth to twins, Robert and Jean. His twin sister died in infancy and by the time of his father's death in 1796 Robert Burns junior was the eldest of a family of five surviving children. He was educated at Dumfries Grammar School and at Glasgow and Edinburgh University. He obtained a position in the Stamp Office in London offered to him by the Prime Minister and retired to Dumfries in 1833. He tried his hand at writing verse but did not demonstrate his father's genius. In some accounts of his life he is presented as a rather dissipate figure, trading on his father's memory.

 

William Nicol Burns was the sixth child of Robert Burns and Jean Armour Burns and one of three sons to survive into adulthood. He made a distinguished career in the East India Company and retired to Cheltenham. In 1851 he purchased the family's last home in Mill Street Dumfries in order to preserve the house in which his father had died.

 

This early photograph may be a montage of two separate photographic portraits of the sons of Robert Burns. Each has been carefully posed in a photographer's studio. The time required to expose a photograph could be several minutes so subjects were required to sit still for an extended period.