Sep 192017
 

Statue of James Fergusson.153 Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8BN

Writing in English and Scots, the poet Robert Fergusson lived in Edinburgh at the height of the Scottish Enlightenment. Although he died at the tragically early age of 24 in 1750, he nonetheless left behind an important body of work. His poetry deeply influenced the work of his younger contemporary, Robert Burns.His collection of poems Auld Reekie, a vivid portrait of his home town published in 1773, is generally considered to be his masterpiece. He died from an injury sustained in a mysterious accident. His headstone in Canongate Kirkyard was designed and paid for by Robert Burns, who also wrote the epitaph that it bears.

Portrait of Robert Fergusson (1750–74) by Alexander Runciman.

Portrait of Robert Fergusson (1750–74) by Alexander Runciman.

Grave of James Fergusson, Cannongate Kirkyard.

Grave of James Fergusson, Canongate Kirkyard.

Epitaph to James Fergusson by Robert Burns.

Epitaph to James Fergusson by Robert Burns.

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Sep 192017
 

Adam Ferguson's House.3 Sciennes House Place, Edinburgh EH9 1NN

Adam Ferguson was professor of moral philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, and, as the author of the Essay on the History of Civil Society (1767), is often considered one of the founders of sociology. He regularly entertained many of the leading figures of the Scottish Enlightenment at his house in Sciennes. In Ferguson’s day the house was on the very edge of the city and, because of its remoteness, his friends jokingly referred to it as ‘Kamchatka’ after the peninsula in Siberia. In the winter of 1786/7 he hosted a dinner here at which the two most famous Scottish writers of the period, Robert Burns and the young Walter Scott, met for the first and only time.

Portrait of Adam Ferguson (1723–1816) by Sir Joshua Reynolds.

Portrait of Adam Ferguson (1723–1816) by Sir Joshua Reynolds.

Plaque commemorating the meeting of Robert Burns and Walter Scott at the house of Adam Ferguson.

Plaque commemorating the meeting of Robert Burns and Walter Scott at the house of Adam Ferguson.

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National Records of Scotland – Adam Ferguson (1723-1816)

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Sep 192017
 

Site of the house of Lord Monboddo13 St John St, Edinburgh EH8 8DG

James Burnett, Lord Monboddo (1714–99), was a judge and pioneer of comparative linguistics. He discussed his theories at ‘learned suppers’ held in this house where he entertained many of the leading figures of the Scottish Enlightenment. As well as expounding his ideas on the origins of languages his also speculated on the relationship between apes and humans, which has led some to see him as an early evolutionary thinker. His beautiful daughter Elizabeth, who died of tuberculosis in 1790 at the tragically early age of 24, was the subject of a poem by Robert Burns, ‘Elegy on the late Miss Elizabeth Burnet of Monboddo’.

Portrait of James Burnett, Lord Monboddo (1714–99).

Portrait of James Burnett, Lord Monboddo (1714–99).

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