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Traveller’s Tales

Robert Burns Tales

The Twa Brigs

19th Century

Eyre Crowe depicts Robert Burns' poem "The Twa Brigs" in this work.  This was Burns' first major poem published after the publication of the Kilmarnock Edition in 1786.


The poem describes two sprites, one representing the Auld Brig of Ayr, an Old Pictish bearded fellow, the other the New Bridge, completed in 1789, a dapper 18th century architect.  They debate the merits of each bridge, old and new ways of life and past and present Ayrshire establishments and practices. 


Burns presents the conflicting spirits of the age, the sweet pleasantness and familiarity of the old rustic way of life and the forward thinking efficiency of a new generation of ideas through this debate.  The Auld Brig famously said "I'll be a Brig when you're a shapeless cairn!" to its rival.  Almost 100 years later the New Brig gave way to flood while the Auld Brig stood firm.

oil on canvas
Rozelle House Galleries
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South Ayrshire Council