“In an old set of volumes of the work of Robert Burns I found and read a chapter called “Fragment”. Burns, an artist in words, begins thus: “As I have seen a good deal of human life in Edinburgh, a great many characters which are new to one bred up in the shades of life as I have been, I am determined to take down my remarks on the spot.”
These words…quoted by Robert Burns, would cheer the souls of artists who have tried to record their own vision, their way of seeing things.
Many an evening did I sit late over the dining-room table…working on imagined pictures of conpirators in dark avenues, of Burns’ maidens standing beneth lowering skies, by roaring torrents…
My largest of these was full-toned and dramatic and looked like an engraving…The girl in this picture was my ideal – my conception of a heroine of romance. Its title, from Burns, was “Around me Howls a Wintry Sky” etc. One more was of a country couple, staring in the moonlight at a female phantom with outstreached arms, and lovely head thrown back, appealing to the stars, her white robes trailing on the still water reflecting her luminous figure and the sickle moon. This was called “The Haunted Mere”.
Alfred Munnings, An Artist’s Life, 1950.