Robert Fergusson Cotter's Saturday Night - Wilkie Painting Cotter's Saturday Night - Etching Cotter's Saturday Night - Re-Enactment Tam O'Shanter - Scene Inside Kirk Tam O'Shanter - Witch Chasing Tam Tam O'Shanter - An Audio Clip Tam O'Shanter - Souter Johnny's Thatched House Tam O'Shanter - Brig O'Doon Other Works - Poem On Glass Pane Other Works - 'Macpherson's Farewell'

Painting of Robert Fergusson, poet (1750-1774)

By Alexander Runciman

Fergusson's first poems in English were published by Walter Ruddiman in The Weekly Magazine in 1771. They were followed by The Daft Days and Auld Reekie in a vigorous Scots which attracted much attention.

During his lifetime (1750-1774) Fergusson's reputation was confined to his circle in Edinburgh. Later, however, his importance was recognised by Robert Burns who saw him as his essential precursor and who erected a monument to him in the Canongate Kirkyard.

This portrait has an old inscription on the back identifying it as Fergusson, 'Supposed to be the only one extant and to be done by Runciman, the intimate friend of the Poet'. This may well be correct but the possibility remains that it is a study for, or a fragment of, a subject picture - Runciman is rumoured to have painted Fergusson for inclusion in a painting of 'The Prodigal Son'.

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