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Burns

Burnsiana

James Glencairn Burns, Robert Burns junior and William Nicol Burns

Period:
19th Century
Description:

Sepia toned monochrome photographic prints on cabinet cards of three of the sons of Robert Burns.

 

Robert Burns first met his wife, Jean Armour in Mauchline in 1784. The date of their marriage is unclear and their relationship was opposed by her parents, but on the third of September 1776 she gave birth to twins, Robert and Jean. His twin sister died in infancy and by the time of his father's death in 1796 Robert Burns junior was the eldest of a family of five surviving children. He was educated at Dumfries Grammar School and at Glasgow and Edinburgh University. He obtained a position in the Stamp Office in London offered to him by the Prime Minister and retired to Dumfries in 1833. He tried his hand at writing verse but did not demonstrate his father's genius. In some accounts of his life he is presented as a rather dissipate figure, trading on his father's memory.

 

William Nicol Burns was the sixth child of Robert Burns and Jean Armour Burns and one of three sons to survive into adulthood. He made a distinguished career in the East India Company and retired to Cheltenham. In 1851 he purchased the family's last home in Mill Street Dumfries in order to preserve the house in which his father had died. His brother, James Glencairn Burns, was their eighth child and also saw service overseas in the East India Company where he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He was appointed Judge and Collector at Cahar. On his retiral he lived in London and Cheltenham.

 

These cabinet cards were probably made from earlier calotype negatives of portraits. Cabinet cards were almost always studio portraits, they were produced to be sold or exchanged and were collected in elaborate albums, specially made for the purpose, often with window mounts to display the cards. These cabinet cards date from the 1860s or 1870s when they were at the height of their popularity.

Materials/Media:
paper
Dimensions:
width: 445 mm, length 250 mm
Source:
Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
Accession number:
DUMFM:1983.67.44
Digital Number:
DMBN265n
Creation Date:
c 1850 [original image]
Copyright:
Dumfries & Galloway Council