“The Burns’ Cabinet”, 1817

On the 1st of February 1817, The Glasgow Courier notified its readers, on page 3, that “lovers of Poetry and Painting” would be gratified to know that Mr. A. Cochran, jeweller, had opened an apartment above his shop on the Trongate, to exhibit a number of Scotia’s Bard’s – Robert Burns’s – original “Letters, etc.” as well as some “admirable paintings”, by the “first masters”, relating to some of his poems. Apparently, the collection had been acquired, at great expense, and trouble, by Mr. Cochran, which, in the newspaper’s opinion, did great credit to him, and added “another place of public amusement to those already formed” in Glasgow.

A few months later, on the 19th of July, a sale of paintings was advertised in The Glasgow Courier. There were 29 works altogether, including what was described as the ‘Burns Cabinet’. This referred to a small group of works, assembled by Cochrane. The titles of the pictures, and their creators, are mixed in the list, but those which can be identified as having Burns subjects include two by James Howe (1780-1836), known for his paintings of horses and panoramas,

The sale was to be held at 85 Wilson Street, “second turnpike, up one stair”, and the auctioneer was James Inglis.