Left: James Currie. Right: a portrait of Burns by Archibald Skirving, published in The Works of Robert Burns, by Blackie and Son, Glasgow, 1854.
Date : 12-09-1799
Correspondent : George ThomsonCorrespondent Location : Edinburgh
Recipient : James Currie Recipient Location : Liverpool
Subject : George Thomson encloses a copy of 'Highland Airs'. He discusses Burns's works with special emphasis on his songs.
Dear Sir
          The dissertation prefixed to Patrick Mcdonald’s Collection of highland Airs is out of print. After asking for it at every music shop in town, I applied to a Lady for the loan of it, which I have obtained for a month And by this days Mail Coach it is dispatched to you. Be so good then as to return it by the time promised. I could easily have got a copy of the tunes for you without the dissertation but I understood you to want the dissertation only.
          The printed Poems of Burns which I mentioned in my last, accompany the books - If any of them are new to you, I hope they will still be in time There are several little inaccuracies & words improperly spelled, which you will correct.
          As you never have sent for the Songs, I have taken the present opportunity of sending them, viz. three books to complete your own copy, a full copy for Mr Roscoe, and the 3d & 4th books for Mr Ibbetson, a most ingenious Landscape painter who resides I believe at a Mr Vernon’s Marble street Liverpool. If you can find him out, be so obliging as to send his books - There are Prints for each set.
          I forgot to mention Mr Ainslie’s profession. He is a writer to the Signet. I ought to add, that among men of science or literature I do not suppose he is all all known.

Your faithful hul Sevt.


Notes :

Julius Caesar Ibbetson (1759-1817):
Self-taught landscape and watercolour painter who, from 1785, exhibited for 30 years at the Royal Academy. Appointed draughtsman on the first British embassy to Peking in 1787, a journey that prompted many illustrations. Produced watercolours depicting industrial sites in Wales and the Midlands; also nautical scenes resulting from visit to the Isle of Wight. A noted portraitist also, he moved in 1798 to Liverpool where he worked for Thomas Vernon; from there he visited, and depicted, the Lake District.

Thomas Vernon:
Art dealer with premises in Marble Street, Liverpool.

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