About this artwork

The cottage where Robert Burns was born in Alloway is less than half a mile from the grassy wooded banks of the River Doon. The river is spanned by the Auld Brig (old bridge). Both the bridge and the ruined old Alloway Kirk located nearby feature in Burns’s epic poem of witches and warlocks, ‘Tam o’Shanter’. The bridge is the setting of the famous scene where Tam must cross the water to escape the evil spirits chasing him, or as Burns put it “win the key-stone o' the brig”. Riding his old horse Meg, the pair just make it, but not before the witch Nannie grabs poor Meg’s tail and tugs it off.

  • title: The Auld Brig O'Doon, Ayrshire
  • accession number: D 2579
  • artist: John KennedyScottish (active 1850s)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • subject: Bridges Burns
  • materials: Watercolour and bodycolour over pencil on paper
  • date created: 1855
  • measurements: 19.00 x 28.60 cm
  • credit line: William Findlay Watson Bequest 1881

John Kennedy

John Kennedy

Little is known about the landscape painter John Kennedy, who was active in the 1850s. He was master of the School of Art at Dundee, and he is believed to have died in 1904. The Department of Prints and Drawings at the Scottish National Gallery has five watercolours by Kennedy, all dating from 1855. They show scenes relating to the life of the poet Robert Burns (1759-1796).