About this artwork

This sepia drawing is an advanced sketch for a large oil painting of an evening party attended by Robert Burns in 1786. The illustrious party of learned Edinburgh men and women included individuals such as Dr John Moore, Professor Dugald Stewart and Professor Adam Ferguson. Their portraits are all based on previously existing paintings, drawings and miniatures. Burns takes centre stage and is seated opposite his host, Lord Monboddo, and next to the judge’s daughter, Eliza Burnett. Miss Burnett was a celebrated Edinburgh beauty and one of Robert Burns’s objects of affection. He wrote several poems to her and regularly visited the Monboddo house at St John Street. Sadly she died of tuberculosis aged only twenty-five and their relationship never matured.

James Edgar

James Edgar

A painter of portraits, genre subjects and landscapes, James Edgar was based in Edinburgh and exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy from 1843 until his death. Posthumous drawings of Robert Burns by him are in the collections of the National Galleries of Scotland.