Brow on the Solway (1)

A steel plate engraving from a painting by D O Hill RSA of the coastal village which Robert Burns visited shortly before his death.   Brow Well is a spring containing the mineral chalybeate which was believed to have healing properties. Townspeople of Dumfries would go there to drink the water and for sea bathing in the Solway, which was also believed to improve the health.   In the last year of his life, as his health continued to deteriorate, Robert Burns was advised to take this cure by his doctor, William Maxwell. Burns drank the foul tasting water from the iron cup attached to the well and waded chest deep into the cold tidal waters. It is little wonder that he died within days of this experience on 21 July 1796. The pathos of Burns' last days spent in hope of a recovery that was not to be lend this rather bleak place a special atmosphere.   This view of Brow was published in "The Land of Burns - A series of Landscapes and Portraits, Illustrative of the Life and Writings of the Scottish Poet". This was published in 1846 by Blackie and Son of Glasgow. At this time the development of steel plate engraving made it possible for images to be reproduced in much greater numbers than previous printing technology had allowed. Books such as this one, illustrated by engravings of works by eminent artists, became popular, although they were still expensive and beyond the pocket of most people.
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J Appleton
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width: 141 mm, length: 95 mm
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