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Robert Burns

Postcard of an engraving of Robert Burns and Mary Campbell

20th Century

"Burns and Highland Mary". A coloured lithographic postcard of an imagined romantic encounter in a country landscape.


Robert Burns first met Mary Campbell in Mauchline where she was employed as nursemaid in the home of his friend, Gavin Hamilton. The details of their relationship are uncertain but it is thought that they "pledged their troth" to one another by an exchange of Bibles, thus contracting an irregular marriage, and that Burns intended that she accompany him to Jamaica.


She died in October 1786 at Greenock, whilst waiting for Burns to complete the arrangements for their emigration. Again, the cause of her death is obscure, possibly it was the result of a fever, possibly it was due to the premature birth of Burns' child.


The tragic story of Robert Burns' lost love captured the imagination of his followers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and romantic scenes featuring the poet and "Highland Mary", so called because her family were from Argyle, were popular at the time. This postcard was published by Valentine and Sons of Dundee, a major producer of postcards with Scottish themes.

width: 137 mm, length: 89 mm
Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
Accession number:
Postcard, BUR / 108
Digital Number:
Creation Date:
c 1905
Dumfries & Galloway Council