About this artwork

When Burns's first collection of poems was published in the summer of 1786, the critics greeted this well-educated son of an Ayrshire farmer as a 'Heaven-taught ploughman'. Many of his poems remain famous world-wide : Auld Lang Syne, My Love is like a Red, Red Rose, Twa' Dogs and To a Mouse. Alexander Reid's miniature portrait belongs to the last eighteen months of Burns's life, when he was working as an excise officer in Dumfries. According to the poet, this was 'the best likeness' of him ever to be made.

Alexander Reid

Alexander Reid

Alexander Reid was born in Kirkcudbrightshire and received his training in London and Paris. He set up a studio in Dumfries and painted landscapes as well as portraits and miniatures of local people. His most famous sitter was Robert Burns, whose miniature he painted in 1796.