Happy Birthday, Robbie!

Portrait of Robert Burns, 1787
By Alexander Nasmyth
At the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

Robert Burns was born on January 25th, 1759, in Alloway, Ayrshire, Scotland. The son of tenant farmers, he had a diverse education but was unsuccessful as a farmer himself. He published his first book of poetry by 1786 and continued this pursuit until his death at age 37, in 1796.

He was a prolific writer, composing poems and songs in both Scots and English (and sometimes both), as well as collecting and refining Scottish folk songs. His works range from sincere to sarcastic, romantic to political, and draw inspiration from a wide range of sources. Considered proto-Romantic, he inspired many later authors and remains an important cultural figure for Scotland.

Scottish immigrants to Dundas in the 1800s brought with them their love for Burns, and below, you can see examples from the DMA Collections of Robbie Burns paraphernalia.

Parian bust of Robbie Burns, 6″.
Robert Burns wall plate, c.1920.
Snuff box reading
“Robert Burns to John Syme”.

The video below provides a snapshot of the Scottish diaspora manifesting in early Dundas and brings to life newspaper reports of Robbie Burns Day Dinners from historic newspapers.

Although the DMA isn’t holding our Robbie Burns event this year, you can click the link below to read our recommendations from our previous tastings for a few Scotchs with which to toast the bard!

Robbie Burns Day Scotch Favourites, 2016-2020

And, enjoy some music from our 2020 Virtual Robbie Burns event!

Performed by MacTalla Road: