About this artwork

Burns’s song ‘John Anderson My Jo’ was written in 1789 and included in James Johnson's ‘Scots Musical Museum’. The motif of the song is the effect of aging on the body; “Your locks were like the raven, / Your bonie brow was brent; / But now your brow is beld, John, / Your locks are like the snaw”. The song is a tender reflection on the couple’s shared life and enduring love and devotion over their many years together. In this illustration to the song, Weigall shows an elderly couple sitting in a domestic interior. They hold hands and gaze at each other, still very much in love. The man’s bald head and wispy ‘snaw’ white hair are exactly as Burns described.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
  • title:
    Illustration to Burns's Song 'John Anderson, My Jo'
  • date created:
    Unknown
  • materials:
    Brush and brown wash heightened with white on paper
  • measurements:
    10.00 x 7.00 cm
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    William Finlay Watson Bequest 1881
  • accession number:
    D 2596 E
  • gallery:
    View by Appointment
  • subject:
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Charles Harvey Weigall

Charles Harvey Weigall