Lot 31
  • 31

Burns, Robert.

4,000 - 6,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Autograph letter signed, to Rev. John Skinner

  • ink on paper
inviting him to "Accept in plain, dull prose my most sincere thanks for the best poetic Compliment I ever received. I assure you, Sir, as a Poet you have conjured up an airy Demon of vanity in my fancy, which the best abilities in your other capacity would be ill able to lay", celebrating Scottish song, informing him of the ongoing Scots Musical Museum ("...I have been absolutely craz'd about it, collecting old stanzas and every information remaining respecting their origin, authors, &c..."), telling him that three of his songs would be included in the collection and inviting further contributions, 4 pages, 4to, integral address panel, at Mr William Cruikshank's, St James's Square, Newtown, Edinburgh, [25 October 1787], repairs to seal tear and fore-edge of first leaf, remains of guard, some dust-staining to address panel

[with:] Agnes McLehose ("Clarinda"), autograph letter signed, to Robert Ainslie, congratulating him on his book (Reasons for the Hope that is in Us), 1 page, 4to, Calton Hill, 20 May 1831, integral address leaf, seal tear repaired


By descent to Rev. John Skinner; gift to Rev. George Newby (note enclosed with letter)


Letters of Robert Burns, ed. Ferguson, vol. 2, pp. 133-34

Catalogue Note

"...There is a certain something in the old Scotch Songs, a wild happiness of thought and expression..."

Rev. Skinner (1721-1807) was the author of 'Tullochgorum' and other songs. Burns had had unwittingly passed just a few miles from Skinner's parish during his Highland tour in the summer of 1787, but subsequently met his son in Aberdeen and suggested a correspondence. A verse epistle from the Rev. Skinner duly followed, to which this letter was a response.