Margaret Chalmers, Mrs Lewis Hay, d. 1843. Friend and corres pondent of Robert Burns
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Margaret Chalmers, Mrs Lewis Hay, d. 1843. Friend and corres pondent of Robert Burns
  • Scottish Art
There were many women in the life of Robert Burns and much of his writing is love poetry, whether lyrical or bawdy. Burns first met Margaret ‘Peggy’ Chalmers, the well-educated daughter of a small landowner, in Edinburgh in late 1786. By then, he was already the father of Jean Armour’s twins, but this did not hinder other romances, whether platonic, as with Eliza Burnett, daughter of Lord Monboddo, or sexual, as with Meg Cameron, an Edinburgh bar maid. Burns proposed to Margaret Chalmers in the autumn of 1787, but she rejected him, as she was already engaged to Lewis Hay, a banking clerk. Of all the women in Burns’s life, Peggy was perhaps the closest he came to an intellectual soul mate, and she inspired at least two poems, ‘My Peggy’s Charms’ and ‘Where, Braving Angry Winter’s Storms’.

Details

  • Acc. No. PG 317
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 33.00 x 28.00 cm (framed: 48.40 x 43.50 x 4.50 cm)
  • Credit Bequeathed by W.F. Watson 1886