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Burns

Robert Burns

Burns Walk at Ellisland, near Dumfries

Period:
Early 20th Century
Description:

This photograph was part of the first group of images of locations associated with Robert Burns to be made specifically for website use. It was taken using a 'conventional' SLR camera (not digital) on 35mm colour transparency film. The film was then sent to a photolab for processing; on its return the frames to be used were selected and these were sent back to the photolab for digitisation. They were written to a Photo CD Portfolio II disk as .pcd files, which was then passed to the Scottish Cultural Resources Access Network for uploading to their website. In all the images moved through the postal system five times.

 

This is an image of Burns favourite walk at Ellisland. Robert Burns took on the lease of Ellisland Farm from Patrick Miller of Dalswinton from Whitsunday 1788 for a rent of £50 per year. It was a small unimproved holding of 170 acres situated on the  bank of the River Nith about 5 miles north of the town of Dumfries. Miller gave Burns £300 with which to build a farm house and enclose the fields.

 

As a respite from the demands of the farm, Burns would walk along the banks of the River Nith, often using this time to think over his writing. He wrote to George Thomson, his publisher, "I walk out, sit down now & then, look out for objects in Nature around me that are in unison or harmony with the cogitations of my fancy & workings of my bosom; humming every now & then the air with the verses I have framed".

 

It is believed that it was here that Burns composed "Tam O'Shanter" in a single day. Burns wrote the poem as a "witch story" to accompany the illustration of Alloway Kirk which was to be published by his friend, Captain Francis Grose in his "Antiquities of Scotland". It is both comic and epic, telling the story of Tam's encounter with a coven of witches on his ride home from a night's drinking at the inn.

Materials/Media:
35mm colour transparency
Source:
Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
Accession number:
CT35.99.67.27
Digital Number:
DMBN158n
Creation Date:
1999
Copyright:
Dumfries & Galloway Council