Market Cross, Ayr

A steel plate engraving from a painting by D O Hill RSA, of the county town of Ayrshire.   The Royal Burgh of Ayr was founded in 1202. It was here that William Wallace struck the first blow for Scottish independence. In Burns' day Ayr was a thriving market town, he described it as, "Auld Ayr, wham ne'er a town surpasses, For honest men and bonnie lasses".   Burns chose Ayr as the setting for the beginning of his poem, Tam O' Shanter.  He wrote the poem, as a "witch story" to accompany the illustration of Alloway Kirk which was to be published by his friend, Captain Francis Grose in his "Antiquities of Scotland". It is both comic and epic, telling the story of Tam's encounter with a coven of witches on his ride home from a night's drinking at an inn in Ayr following a market day visit to the town.   This view of Ayr 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.
Object no :
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Creator :
W Richardson
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Dimensions :
width: 140 mm, length: 91 mm
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Related site :
Accession number :
DUMFM:0199.72 [Land of Burns, Volume I]
Copyright :
Dumfries & Galloway Council
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