About this artwork

Robert Burns became a Freemason in 1781 and soon rose to become depute master of St James Lodge in Tarbolton. The subject here is the poet's inauguration as Poet Laureate in the Canongate Kilwinning Lodge No 2, in Edinburgh in 1787. The scene was painted nearly sixty years later, using prints and family pictures to produce accurate portraits of those present. The Canongate Lodge, also known as St John's Chapel, is the oldest purpose-built Masonic meeting room in the world, dating from 1736. The organ in the background is still played at Lodge meetings.

William Stewart Watson

William Stewart Watson