High tech unveils wife of Scotland's Robert Burns

Thu Oct 23, 2008 5:53am EDT
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By Ian MacKenzie

EDINBURGH (Reuters Life!) - The first-ever image of Robert Burns"s wife "Bonnie Jean" Armour, showing her as a young woman when she married Scotland's national poet in 1788, has been created by U.S. computer technology as used by the FBI.

Burns wrote that Bonnie Jean was "the lassie I lo'e best" despite his philandering across Scotland. She bore him four children out of wedlock, and five more during their sadly brief marriage before Burns himself died in 1796 aged only 37.

"There's not a bonnie flower that springs,

By fountain, shaw, or green;

There's not a bonnie bird that sings,

But minds me o'my Jean."

But what did the Ayrshire stonemason's daughter look like who inspired Burns as a young woman?

The two paintings that exist show her in advancing years before her death in 1834, while there is also a silhouette drawing of her by a French artist in 1810 in Dumfries where he was being held as a prisoner-of-war during the Napoleonic conflict.   Continued...

<p>A computer-created artistic impression shows the first-ever image of Robert Burns' wife "Bonnie Jean" Armour in this undated handout received October 20, 2008. REUTERS/David Purdie/Phojoe.com/Handout</p>