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Scotland's Hall of Fame - Art & Literature
BAILLIE, Isabella (1895-1983)

Scotland's first international opera star. A soprano who made her debut at the Halle concert in Manchester (1921) and worked with Toscanini and Vaughan Williams. She was noted for her singing of oratorio and later taught music in England and the United States.
born Wilton 9.3.1895 (810, 30)

BARRIE, J(ames) M(atthew) (1860-1937)

Writer. The son of a weaver who found fame in England as a journalist and playwright. His most well-known works from a long list of successful publications include: 'The Admirable Crichton' (1902) and the perennial childhood favourite 'Peter Pan' (1904).
born Kirriemuir 9.5.1860 (299, 100)
Marriage to Mary Ansell    
married Kirriemuir 9.7.1894 (299, 22)

BOSWELL, James (1740-1795)

Advocate and biographer of Dr Johnson. As a young man he travelled widely in Europe and in 1773 made the famous tour of the Hebrides with Dr Johnson of which both published entertaining accounts. Boswell's 'Life of Samuel Johnson' (1791) was published to great acclaim. It is regarded as one of the finest biographies in the English language, not least for its vivid depiction of the British literary scene in the late eighteenth century.
born Edinburgh 18.10.1740 (685.1/22, Fr 102)
Marriage to his cousin Margaret Montgomery  
marriage Stewarton 26.11.1769 (616/5, Fr 982)

BUCHAN, John (1875-1940)

Writer, journalist and politician. He was the author of various adventure and historical novels 0the most famous of which was 'The Thirty-Nine Steps'. He held several senior positions in the British diplomatic service, including assistant secretary to Lord Milner in South Africa (1901-03) and that of Governor General of Canada (1935-40).
born Perth 26.8.1875 387, 604

BURNS, Robert (1759-1796)

Poet, Scotland's national bard. He was born in a small cottage in Alloway, Ayrshire, the first of six children to William Burns and Agnes Brown. All of the children were baptised in Ayr:
Robert 28.1.1759 (578/4, Fr 388)
Gilbert 2.10.1760 (578/4, Fr 402)
Agnes [Burnes] 4.10.1762 (578/4, Fr 416)
Annabella 17.11.1764 (578/4, Fr 434)
William 6.8.1767 (578/4, Fr 457)
John 21.7.1769 (578/4, Fr 475)
Isobel 2.7.1771 (578/4, Fr 488)

He developed a love of reading at an early age and was inspired by country tales, songs and superstitions, as well as the poetry of Ramsay and Fergusson. It was while farming at Mossgiel that he started to write poetry and first met his 'Bonnie Jean'.

Irregular marriage to Jean or Joan Armour:
married Mauchline 5.8.1788 (604/2, Fr 379)

Digitised extract from the parish register recording Burns' marriage Following publication of the famous Kilmarnock editions of his poetry in 1786 he was welcomed by Edinburgh society. His most popular poems include 'Scots Wha Hae','Auld Lang Syne' and 'Tam O'Shanter'. He died young, aged 37, and was buried in Dumfries where he had worked as an excise officer. The Dumfries death register for 1796 has not survived.


CHRISTIE, Agatha Mary Clarissa (1890-1976)

The 'Queen of Crime', a prolific writer of murder-mystery stories featuring the Belgian detective Hercules Poirot or the English Miss Marple. Her travels in the Middle East with her second husband, an archaeologist, provided background material for novels such as 'Death on the Nile'. She also wrote under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott and her play 'The Mousetrap' has had the longest run in the history of British theatre.
Second marriage to Max Mallowan
married St Giles, Edinburgh 11.9.1930 (685/4, 938)


CONAN DOYLE, Sir Arthur (1859-1930)

Writer, born of Irish parents who migrated to Edinburgh. He was a graduate in medicine from Edinburgh University and his most famous creation, the fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes, a character that he later grew to hate, was based on Dr Joseph Bell of the university. His other novels include 'The Lost World'.
born St Andrew, Edinburgh 22.5.1859 (685.2,367)

GRAHAME, Kenneth (1859-1932)

Writer, author of 'The Wind in the Willows' (1908) which reflects his love of wild creatures and the countryside. He spent his working life in London and was also Secretary to the Bank of England until his retirement. Originally registered as James Cunningham Grahame but this was altered to Kenneth on 11 August 1859.
born St Andrew, Edinburgh 8.3.1859 (685/2,182)


MACKINTOSH or MacINTOSH, Charles Rennie (1868-1928)

Architect, designer and painter. His most famous works are: the Glasgow School of Art, Mrs Cranston's Willow Tea Rooms in Glasgow, and the Hillhouse in Helensburgh which he designed for the Blackie family. He married fellow artist, Margaret MacDonald, and they eventually moved to England and later to France. He had a great influence on the European modernist school and his designs are still highly saught after.

born Central District, Glasgow 7.6.1868 (644/1, 1360)
Marriage to Margaret MacDonald
married Dumbarton 22.8.1900 (496, 88)

Digitised extract showing the Mackintosh household as recorded in the 1881 Census when Charles was a 12 year old schoolboy (Charles' name is second from bottom)


NASMYTH, Alexander (1758-1840)

Artist. He is known as the father of Scottish landscape painting but one of his best known pieces is a portrait of his friend, Robert Burns. Having studied under Allan Ramsay in London and in Italy, he set himself up as a portrait painter in Edinburgh. After getting into conflict with his patrons he turned to landscape art at which he was very successful. He was also an inventor and landscape gardener. Several of his children were talented artists.
Registered as Allexander Nasmith
baptised Edinburgh 7.9.1758 (685.1/29, Fr 7995)
Marriage to Barbara Foulis or Foules
marriage Colinton or Hailes 31.12.1785 (677/3, Fr 735)

RAEBURN or REABURN, Sir Henry (1756-1823)

Portrait-painter - known as the 'Scottish Reynolds'. He was orphaned at the age of six, educated at Heriot's Hospital and apprenticed to a local goldsmith where his skill in painting miniature portraits was encouraged. He married one of his sitters, Anne Leslie, although the marriage does not appear to be recorded in the OPRs. Following two years studying in Italy he opened a studio in Edinburgh, being acknowledged as the foremost painter in Scotland and receiving honours from many countries. He produced several hundred portraits of such notables as: Sir Walter Scott, David Hume, James Boswell, Neil Gow, James Hutton and Thomas Telford.
born St.Cuthberts 4.3.1756 (685.2/7, Fr 2018)

Also given as Henry Raeburn in the St Cuthbert's blotter register:

born St Cuthberts 4.3.1756 (685.S,MR5/2)

SCOTT, Sir Walter (1771-1832)

Novelist and poet. Author of the 'Waverley Novels', some of the most well-known titles being 'Ivanhoe', 'Rob Roy', 'Kenilworth', 'The Heart of Midlothian' and 'The Bride of Lammermoor'. His birth is not recorded in the surviving old parochial registers.
died Melrose 21.9.1832 (799/5, Fr1135 or p459)

SHELLEY, Percy Bysshe (1792-1822)

Poet. His most famous works include 'Queen Mab', 'Prometheus Unbound','Ode to the West Wind' and 'To a Skylark'. Not a Scot but he eloped to Scotland with the sixteen year old, Harriet Westbrook, staying with her in George Street, Edinburgh, after the marriage.
First marriage to Harriet Westbrook.
married Edinburgh 28.8.1811 (685.1/54, Fr 2530)

Digitised extract from the parish register recording Shelley's marriage

STEVENSON, Robert Lewis Balfour or Robert Louis (1850-1894)

Writer. His most famous works include 'Treasure Island', 'Kidnapped' and 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'. He died and was buried on the island in the Pacific Ocean that he had made his home, but his death was recorded in Scotland in the Foreign Register of Deaths.
born Edinburgh 13.11.1850 (685.1/60, Fr 4251-52)
died Samoa 3.12.1894 (161/FN, 23)

Digitised extract from the Foreign Register of Deaths recording Robert Louis Stevenson's death


Page last updated: 19 July 2006

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