About this artwork

Isabella Burns Begg was the youngest sister of the poet Robert Burns. After the death of their father, she was brought up by her brother. Her many anecdotes of the poet included memories of him asking her to sing his songs so that he could hear how they sounded. She was painted by several artists and photographed by Robert Adamson and David Octavius Hill. Isabella was thought to bear a strong resemblance to Burns, and as such was regarded as the gatekeeper to his memory. In her later years, she lived in Alloway, where she received visitors from all over the world who wanted to hear tales of her brother.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
    William BonnarScottish (1800 - 1853)
  • title:
    Isabella Burns, Mrs John Begg, 1771 - 1858. Youngest sister of Robert Burns
  • date created:
    1843
  • materials:
    Oil on millboard
  • measurements:
    25.90 x 20.70 cm (framed: 46.80 x 41.90 x 6.00 cm)
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Purchased 1937
  • accession number:
    PG 1350
  • gallery:
  • depicted:
  • subject:
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William Bonnar

William Bonnar