This sketch is identifiable as a preparatory study for a larger painting of Robert Burns by Nasmyth (also in the National Galleries of Scotland?s collection) by the inscription to the bottom right: `Sketch for a Picture of Robt. Burns?. There are also distinct compositional similarities. Both feature the famous Scottish bard standing full-length with his arms folded across his chest. However, unlike the finished painting, it includes both the Bridge of Doon and Alloway Kirk in the background. The `Auld Brig o' Doon? was made famous by Burns in his poem 'Tam o' Shanter?. This sketch can be dated as between 1825 and 1828 due to a watermark of 1825 on the paper and the fact that the oil painting was completed in 1828.