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Robert Burns

Postcard illustrating "Tam O'Shanter" (1)

Period:
20th Century
Description:

Postcard of a cartoon illustrating "Tam O'Shanter".  "Weel Done Cutty sark!".  A colour lithographic postcard of the most famous scene from the poem, "Tam O'Shanter" by Robert Burns. It was posted on 25 November 1906.

 

The drawing and colouring of the postcard are garish and cartoon like in style.  The hero is wearing a comically outsized Tam O'Shanter, the name given to a Kilmarnock bonnet through its association with his character, and the dancers are scantily clad.

 

Burns wrote the poem, "Tam O'Shanter" 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.  In the scene illustrated, Tam must leave the comfort of the inn and begin his journey home.  During this he happens upon a coven of witches dancing in the ruins of the old church at Alloway.  One is wearing only a "cutty sark", or short under garment and Tam, overcome, cries out the famous line, "Weel Done Cutty Sark!", so beginning a chase from which he only just escapes and in which his horse, Maggie loses her tail.

Materials/Media:
paper
Dimensions:
length 89mm, width 142mm
Source:
Robert Burns Centre
Accession number:
BUR/249
Digital Number:
BCBN054a
Creation Date:
1906
Copyright:
Dumfries & Galloway Council