A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Cunningham, Allan

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Cunningham, Allan (1784-1842). — Poet and miscellaneous writer, b. near Dalswinton, Dumfriesshire, in his youth knew Burns, who was a friend of his father's. He was apprenticed to a stonemason, but gave his leisure to reading and writing imitations of old Scottish ballads, which he contributed to Cromek's Remains of Nithsdale and Galloway Song, pub. in 1810, and which gained for him the friendship of Scott and Hogg. Thereafter he went to London, and became a parliamentary reporter, and subsequently assistant to Chantrey, the sculptor, but continued his literary labours, writing three novels, a life of Sir D. Wilkie, and Lives of Eminent British Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, besides many songs, of which the best is A wet sheet and a flowing Sea. He also brought out an ed. of Burns's Works. He had four sons, all of whom rose to important positions, and inherited in some degree his literary gifts.