‘Toap tae Boatum’ Gouache and charcoal on plywood 35 x 20 cm.
This image represents two of Edinburgh’s literary characters at the top and tail of the High Street - Edinburgh’s most important thoroughfare. The poet Alan Ramsay had a wig shop about half way down the Royal Mile, approximately opposite to the top of Niddry Street. Ramsay was originally from the Scottish Borders. His octagonal house, built on Castle hill, and later extended by Patrick Geddes, still has prominence over the city as part of the wider complex of Geddes’ design. It can be seen today as the centre frontage looking over the Mound and Prince’s St Garden’s with its distinctive balcony iron railings.
The poet Robert Fergusson died in Bedlam and was interred in an unmarked grave in Canongate Kirk yard at the foot of the Royal Mile. A memorial headstone was erected in his honour a few years later by poet Robert Burns. Both Fergusson and Alan Ramsay wrote poems in Scots dialect.