About this artwork

This half-length portrait of Burns, framed within an oval, has become the most well-known and widely reproduced image of the famous Scottish poet. Nasmyth's painting, commissioned by the publisher William Creech, was to be engraved for a new edition of Burns' poems. He is shown fashionably dressed against a landscape, evoking his rural background in Alloway, Ayrshire. Burns and Nasmyth had become good friends, having been introduced to one another in Edinburgh by a mutual patron, Patrick Miller of Dalswinton. Nasmyth, pleased to have recorded Burns' likeness convincingly, decided to leave the painting in a slightly unfinished state.

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Alexander Nasmyth

Alexander Nasmyth