About this artwork

This drawing shows the ruins of Alloway Kirk, the setting for Burns’s famous tale ‘Tam O’Shanter’, and where Tam saw the witches dancing before they gave chase to him. Burns was born in a cottage close to the Kirk on 25 January 1759. Alloway Kirk was last used as a place of worship in 1756 and by the time that Burns had penned his famous poem in 1790, the building had become a ruin. The roof had fallen in and crows nested in the stonework. Burns’s father and his sister Isabella Burns Begg are buried in the kirkyard..

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).