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Robert Burns

Mitchell Library

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Robert Burns

The best known portrait of Robert Burns, Scotland's national poet, painted by Alexander Nasmyth in 1787 when Burns was living in Edinburgh.

Burns' correspondence indicates that the poet visited Glasgow on five occasions in 1787 and 1788, although there may have been other unrecorded visits. It is known that he stayed at the Black Bull Inn in Argyle Street, now the site of a branch of Marks & Spencer, on at least two occasions. He had business with bookseller John Smith, who was his agent in Glasgow.

One of Burns' most famous affairs was with Nancy McLehose, "Clarinda", estranged wife of a Glasgow lawyer. Born Agnes Craig, daughter of a Glasgow surgeon, she met Burns in Edinburgh and is said to have inspired some of his greatest love poems, including Ae fond kiss.

There are many Burns clubs in the city, the oldest of which is Bridgeton Burns Club founded in 1870. The Burns Collection in the Mitchell Library is the largest collection of material on Burns in the world.

Reference: Mitchell Library, 907699

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning

Black Bull Inn, booksellers, Bridgeton Burns Club, Burns Collection, clubs, John Smith & Sons, Marks & Spencer, Mitchell Library, poems, poetry, poets, portraits, songs

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