About this artwork

Jean Armour was the daughter of a stonemason in Mauchline, Ayrshire, where she met Robert Burns in 1784. When Jean fell pregnant Burns was reluctant to marry her but did apparently promise that he would stick by her. In September 1786 Jean gave birth to twins, but it was only after she had twins again in March 1788 that Burns married her. Jean bore Burns eight children and raised one by a mistress, but only three survived into adulthood. She had a very good memory and an aptitude for quoting verse. Burns read almost all his work to her, and admitted benefiting from her judgment. After the death of her husband, whom she outlived by nearly 38 years, Jean lived a modest but comfortable life in their last family home in Dumfries. It is from this period only that portraits of her exist.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
  • title:
    Jean Armour, Mrs Robert Burns, 1765 - 1834. Wife of the poet Robert Burns
  • date created:
    1822
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • measurements:
    74.90 x 62.30 cm (framed: 66.04 x 78.74 x 10.79 cm)
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Bequeathed by Mrs McDiarmid 1912
  • accession number:
    PG 809
  • gallery:
  • depicted:
  • subject:
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve
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John Alexander Gilfillan

John Alexander Gilfillan