A rare Burns manuscript that commemorates a Galloway River shattered estimates when it went under the hammer this week.
The handwritten Banks of the Cree had a guide price of between Â£ 8,000 and Â£ 12,000 when they hit the auction house on Wednesday.
But the work sparked an auction frenzy and shattered targets to hit Â£ 27,500 when it was sold as part of the London auction house’s Fine Books and Manuscripts collection.
He is now set to return to Scotland after it was revealed that the charitable foundation of former sportswear mogul and philanthropist Tom Hunter had bought him, with the intention of seeing him return to Ayrshire.
Bonhams fine books and manuscript scholar Luke Batterham said: “This is a beautiful poem by Burns’ clear and distinctive hand and I am not at all surprised that the auction has been so intense or that ‘she sold for far more than her estimate. “
The aging parchment, signed with the ‘handwritten Burns’ dedication, was discovered in an album in Suffolk, where it is believed to have been kept about 200 years ago.
It was written to an aria composed by Lady Elizabeth Heron, daughter of the 8th Earl of Dundonald.
Lady Heron was also the wife of Kirkcudbright MP Patrick Heron – whose Kerroughtree Burns estate was a regular visitor – and through whom sections of the Cree River flow.
Burns was known to be a supporter of the politician and had also written several satirical ballads to boost his friend’s election campaign in 1795.
The famous ladies’ man is believed to have immortalized his friend Lady Elizabeth in the sixteen lines, four stanza lines as “beautiful girl” Maria.
The verses were originally sent by Burns to his publisher George Thomson in May 1794.
In the original note, now at the Morgan Library, the poet wrote: âNow, and for six or seven months, I will be quite into the song, as you will see later. I had a tune, quite pretty, composed by Lady Elizabeth Heron, from Heron, which she calls ‘The Banks of Cree’. Cree is a beautiful romantic stream and, as Madame is a friend of mine in particular, I wrote the following song “.
Sir Tom Hunter confirmed the purchase on behalf of the Hunter Foundation, saying: âI am delighted that Burns is doing an exceptional job, The Banks of the Cree is not just staying in the UK, it is returning home to Scotland and in Ayrshire, his rightful home, where, in due course, he will be made available to all.