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Robert Burns

Magic Lantern Slide with Photograph of Highland Mary's Grave, Greenock

Late 19th Century

"A Night with Burns, Highland Mary's Grave", a colour tinted photographic image of the memorial to Mary Campbell.


Robert Burns first met Mary Campbell in Mauchline where she was employed as nursemaid in the home of his friend, Gavin Hamilton. The details of their relationship are uncertain but it is thought that they contracted an irregular marriage or "pledged their troth" to one another by an exchange of Bibles, and that Burns intended that she accompany him to Jamaica


She died in October 1786 at Greenock, whilst waiting for Burns to complete the arrangements for their emigration. Again, the cause of her death is obscure, possibly it was the result of a fever, possibly it was due to the premature birth of Burns' child.


She was buried in the old West Highland Churchyard at Greenock, and her grave remained unmarked for 56 years. This magic lantern slide is of the monument which was erected by Greenock Burns Club in 1842. In 1920 the cemetery was purchased by Harland and Wolff, Shipbuilders, who moved her remains to Greenock Cemetery.

width: 82 mm, length: 82 mm
Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
Accession number:
Lantern Slide, PEOPLE, Robert Burns / 23
Digital Number:
Creation Date:
1880 - 1920
Dumfries & Galloway Council