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Robert Burns

Postcard illustrating "Tam O'Shanter" (2)

Period:
20th Century
Description:

Postcard of a cartoon illustrating "Tam O'Shanter" by Robert Burns.  "The Carlin Caught Her By The Rump, And Left Poor Maggie Scarce A Stump".  A colour lithographic postcard. It was posted on 9 July 1905.

 

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.  This postcard was published as part of a series, illustrating the poem.

 

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 has left the comfort of the inn and has happened 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/250
Digital Number:
BCBN055a
Creation Date:
c1905
Copyright:
Dumfries & Galloway Council