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  • Peter Taylor
Robert Burns, 1759 - 1796. Poet

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Robert Burns, 1759 - 1796. Poet 1786 - 1787

Not on display

Taylor painted this half-length portrait of the famous Scottish poet following their meeting at a dinner party in December 1786. Robert Burns agreed to sit for the portrait the next morning and after three sittings it was complete. The differences between the poet’s appearance here and Alexander Nasmyth’s more famous portrait are obvious. Yet several of Burns’s contemporaries noted the likeness captured by Taylor, including Sir Walter Scott, “I would not hesitate to recognise this portrait as a striking resemblance of the Poet”. The painting was used as a basis for an engraving by John Horsburgh and a statue by John Greenshields. A larger version of the portrait that came to light in 1893 is also attributed to Taylor.

Glossary Open


The printmaking technique in which an image is inscribed on a copper plate with a tool that cuts a groove in the surface. This groove holds the ink that creates the print when it is applied to paper. Also refers to the method of making an incision on a material such as glass.



  • Acc. No. PG 1085
  • Medium Oil on panel
  • Size 22.20 x 20.30 cm (framed: 43.6 x 41.6 x 6.2 cm)
  • Credit Bequeathed by William Andrew Taylor 1928