Rare Robert Burns Portrait Estimated to Fetch £7000 at Edinburgh Sale
A rare early portrait of famous poet and song-writer, Robert Burns is the highlight of an upcoming Bonhams auction on August 20 in Edinburgh. Wikimedia commons

A rare early portrait of famous poet and songwriter Robert Burns is expected to fetch £7,000 when it is auctioned in Edinburgh on 20 August.

The portrait, which is being offered for auction in Part I of Bonhams' Annual Scottish Sale, dates from the winter of 1786-7 - making it one of the earliest portraits of Burns.

It is thought that the portrait was produced in Edinburgh, during Burns's first visit to the Scottish capital. He had travelled from his home in rural Ayrshire to arrange the publication of the second or third Edinburgh Edition, a compendium of poems which sold around 2800 copies.

The artist captures the subject sitting in a chair. Based on contemporary descriptions of Burns from the likes of Sir Walter Scott, it is believed that the portrait provides a close likeness to the man himself.

"This is one of the earliest portraits we have of Burns. It was painted while he was tasting the first fruits of success as a poet and was almost certainly derived from a life study which gives the likeness an appealing freshness and immediacy," Bonhams' head of pictures in Scotland, Chris Brickley, said.