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Burns

Robert Burns

Margaret Chalmers, Mrs Lewis Hay

Period:
19th Century
Description:

A stippled steel plate engraving from an earlier portrait by J Irvine of Robert Burns' friend and correspondent.

 

Margaret Chalmers was the daughter of a farmer near Mauchline and a relation of Burns' friend Gavin Hamilton. She was a talented musician and Burns wrote to her, "your Pianoforte and you together have play'd the deuce somehow, about my heart."

 

When visiting Edinburgh she would play and sing for Dr. Thomas Blacklock, and Burns renewed his acquaintance with her there. Years later she told the poet Thomas Campbell that Burns had proposed to her around that time but that she had refused him. Nevertheless they remained close friends and corresponded until she married a banker, Lewis Hay.

 

This portrait of Margaret Chambers was published in "The Land of Burns - A series of Landscapes and Portraits, Illustrative of the Life and Writings of the Scottish Poet". This was published in 1846 by Blackie and Son of Glasgow. At this time the development of steel plate engraving made it possible for images to be reproduced in much greater numbers than previous printing technology had allowed. Books such as this one, illustrated by engravings of works by eminent artists became popular, although they were still  expensive and beyond the pocket of most people.

Materials/Media:
paper
Dimensions:
width: 120 mm, length: 140 mm
Source:
Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
Accession number:
DUMFM:0199.72 [Land of Burns, Volume II]
Digital Number:
DMBN190n
Creation Date:
1846
Copyright:
Dumfries & Galloway Council