James Thomson

As an eighteenth-century scholar, your blogger notes that today, 27 August, is the anniversary of the death of James Thomson (1700-48), noted Scottish poet and alumnus of the University of Edinburgh, where he had trained to become a minister of the Kirk. A rather handsome portrait of him, by John Medina after John Patoun, currently hangs in the University’s Elder Room (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/artists/john-medina). Thomson’s best known work is The Seasons, for which he was justly famous. Copies abounded in eighteenth-century libraries. His most familiar work nowadays is the song “Rule Britannia”, written for the mask “Alfred”, in which Thomson had collaborated with his fellow-Scot, David Mallet (or Malloch).