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Robert Burns

Postcard of a cartoon illustrating "Tam o' Shanter"

20th Century

"Weel Done Cutty Sark!".  A coloured lithographic postcard of the most famous scene from the poem, "Tam o' Shanter" by Robert Burns.


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 the 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.


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 because of its association with this character.


width: 142 mm, length: 89 mm
Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
Accession number:
Postcard, BUR / 101
Digital Number:
Creation Date:
c 1905
Dumfries & Galloway Council