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Until 4 April 2004

portrait of Burns 1859
During the first three months of 2004, the life, legacy, and poetry of Robert Burns (1759-1796) are being celebrated at the Stirling Smith.
An exhibition from the Mitchell Library, Glasgow, which has one of the most significant Burns collections in Scotland, together with the private collection of Burnsiana, by the collector Colin Hunter McQueen, are on show in the Smith.

Colin Hunter McQueen has built up his collection over a period of 30 years, and this is its first major showing. In the collection are souvenir plaques and mementoes, from modern tea towels to 19th century representations of Burns Cottage in brass. The collection contains 'Ivorex' plaques made by the Osbornes of Kent 1900-1961, Ridgway souvenir pottery, a range of whisky, beer and wine bottles inspired by Burns over the past 200 years, and a range of Scottish pottery on a Burns theme.

Painting by William Kidd (1796-1863) - The Cottar's Saturday Night The collection demonstrates the importance of the legacy of Burns to the ordinary people of Scotland, with souvenirs ranging from door knockers to log boxes, and even a large fireclay garden urn. Also on display is a cast of Burns' skull, taken for phrenological purposes when the grave was opened for the burial of his wife Jean Armour in 1834, and an impression of the poet's own seal.

plaster original for the Stirling Burns statue by A. E. Hodge During the exhibition period, various speakers will give talks on different aspects of Burns' life and work. The talks are on Wednesdays at 12.00 noon, beginning on 14 January when Dr Kenneth Simpson of the University of Strathclyde will speak on 'Burns and Independence'. Tickets which include a soup and sandwich lunch are 7 each or 36 for the series of seven.

The exhibition will be formally opened by Burns specialist Dr John Cairney at 7.30pm on Friday 16 January. John Cairney has returned from his new home in New Zealand to give a really good start to the Smith's Burns season.

For further information contact Elspeth King at the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum.

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