Page last updated at 11:33 GMT, Tuesday, 30 June 2009 12:33 UK

Portrait 'home' after 175 years

Jean Armour portrait
The portrait of Jean Armour is to return to Dumfries for an exhibition

A privately-owned portrait of Rabbie Burns' wife, Jean Armour, is to return "home" for the first time in 175 years.

The artwork - entitled Bonnie Jean - was inherited by their son James Glencairn Burns in Dumfries in 1834 and left the town shortly afterwards.

It is now set to be brought back to the area as part of an exhibition.

The portrait was painted by Samuel Mackenzie in 1830 and hung for a time in the living room of Jean Armour's home in Burns Street in Dumfries.

It features the poet's wife alongside her granddaughter Sarah.

She once stated: "While Robert had many times been the subject of the artist's brush, I had no real wish to have my portrait painted, but was pressed to do so by the family.

"Samuel Mackenzie, a well-known artist, contacted me in 1830 about sitting for him.

"I eventually agreed but insisted that my beloved Sarah, who was nine at the time, be included in the painting."

The portrait remains in the ownership of descendants of the poet, who have allowed it to be used in the exhibition.

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