Burns House, Dumfries, December 1971

Pen and ink drawing of Robert Burns House, Dumfries.   It was in this ordinary house in a quiet back street of Dumfries that Robert Burns spent the last three years of his life.  The family moved into the house in May 1793.  The house had a parlour, kitchen, two bedrooms and even a small study where Burns could write.  It was well furnished with a carpet and a long case clock in the parlour.   Robert Burns died here on 21 July 1796, although his wife, Jean Armour Burns continued to live in the house until her own death in 1834.  The house was purchased in 1851 by their son, Colonel William Nicol Burns and throughout the 19th century it became a place of pilgrimage for Burns enthusiasts from around the world.  In 1935 Burns House was restored and opened as a museum.   Charles William Stewart was born in the Philippines in 1915. His father was a partner in the merchant firm of Smith, Bell & Co. After the end of the First World War, he and his mother returned from the East to stay with his aunt and uncle at Shambellie, New Abbey. After the death of his aunt and uncle, both childless, Stewart's father inherited the Shambellie estate. Stewart was educated in the south of England, and attended the Byam Shaw School of Drawing and Painting, London. When war broke out in 1939, Stewart, a conscientious objector, joined Battersea ARP as a stretcher bearer. In his spare time he trained himself to draw with a pen, and started on his first book illustrations. In 1943 he received his first commission to illustrate a book. After his release from service, he returned to the Byam Shaw School to teach life drawing and illustration, and in 1955 became joint principal of the school. The death of his mother in 1960 saw Stewart return to Shambellie to help his father with running the estate. He inherited the house after his father died in 1962. In 1977, Stewart donated Shambellie House and his costume collection, together with the 18th century New Abbey Corn Mill, to the nation.
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Charles W Stewart (1915 = 2001)
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height 200mm, width 278mm
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Dumfries & Galloway Council
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