Society of Artists in 1770. After spending some time in Paris before the revolution, he appears to have had a studio at Dumfries about the end of the last century. He painted miniatures, oil portraits, and landscapes, some of which have been engraved. His name is best known in connection with a miniature of Robert Burns, which he painted at Dumfries in 1796. Allan Cunningham, in his life of Raeburn (Lives, v. 215), speaks of ‘Read, a wandering limner, who found his way on a time to Dumfries, where he painted the heads of Burns and his Jean on ivory.’ Burns wrote to Mrs. W. Riddell from Dumfries on 29 Jan. 1796: ‘I am just sitting to Reid in this town for a miniature, and I think he has hit by far the best likeness of me ever taken. When you are at any time so idle in town as to call at Reid's painting-room, and mention to him that I spoke of such a thing to you, he will shew it to you, else he will not; for both the miniature's existence and its destiny are an inviolable secret’ (Burns, Works, ed. W. Douglas, 1879, vi. 181). All trace of this portrait has been lost, but of a number of miniatures asserted to be the authentic portrait of Burns by Reid, that bequeathed by W. F. Watson to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, has by far the strongest claim. Reid's work is not very accomplished, but he was painstaking and accurate, and his colour is not unpleasing. On the death of his elder brother in 1804 he succeeded to the estate, and settled there. He died unmarried in 1823. A portrait of him, by an unknown artist, passed to the possession of his great-nephew, Mr. G. Corson, architect, Leeds.
REID, ALEXANDER (1802–1860), schoolmaster, was born at Thornhill in Dumfriesshire in 1802. His father, a merchant, came from Aberdeenshire. The son was educated at the parish school at Thornhill, and afterwards at Edinburgh University, where, after distinguishing himself in the rhetoric classes, he graduated M.A. From September 1822 onwards he was parish schoolmaster at Dornock, Dumfriesshire, when he prepared himself to enter the church of Scotland. He was licensed by the presbytery of Annan in 1827. Through his connection with Dr. Andrew Thomson (1779–1831) [q. v.], he was appointed (27 July 1827) chief master of St. George's School, Edinburgh. In 1829 he was appointed to the Circus Place school in Edinburgh, formed after the model of an English preparatory school with advanced classes. This school was established about the same time as the Edinburgh Academy. Reid remained connected with it till 1846, except for a short interval in 1832–3, when he took charge of a school in Dublin. Between 1833 and 1846 his smaller school-books were chiefly written. His most important work was his ‘English Dictionary,’ which he issued in 1844. It cost him much labour, and over-work brought on serious illness. In 1849, partially recovered, he was appointed by the Free Church of Scotland inspector of primary schools. In 1850, after receiving from the university of Aberdeen the honorary degree of LL.D., he purchased the proprietary school known as the Edinburgh Institution, the aim of which was to provide a ‘modern’ education of a high-class character. The school was energetically worked, and removed from Hill Street to Queen Street. In 1858 Reid's health gave way entirely. He retired from the school, and died on 29 June 1860.
In 1833 he married the third daughter of J. Greig, parish minister of Dalmeny, Linlithgowshire.
A medallion of Reid was made after his death by Brodie the sculptor. A replica in stucco is in the Edinburgh Institution. Reid's chief publication was ‘A Dictionary of the English Language, containing the pronunciation, etymology, and explanation of all words authorised by eminent writers. To which are added a vocabulary of the roots of English words and an accented list of proper names,’ Edinburgh, 1844, 12mo; 9th ed. 1853; 17th ed. 1863; 18th ed. 1864. Among his other works were: ‘An Outline of Sacred Geography’ (15th ed. 1861); ‘Rudiments of English Composition,’ Edinburgh, 1839, 12mo; 18th ed. 1872 (with Key, 1843, 1872); ‘Rudiments of English Grammar’ (1837, 12mo; 23rd ed. 1874, 16mo); and of Modern Geography (1837, 16mo; 53rd ed. 1893). A third edition of ‘Selection from A. Reid's “Rudiments of Geography,” transliterated into the Nāgarī character for the use of the lower English classes in Indian schools, by Ganesa Mārtanda Srotriya,’ appeared at Poona in 1888, 16mo. Reid also adapted Kitto's ‘History of Palestine’ (1843) and P. F. Tytler's ‘History of Scotland’ (1851).
[Private information from J. R. Reid, esq., late of Bengal Civil Service, son of Dr. Reid, and Dr. R. Ferguson, Principal of the Edinburgh Institution.]
REID, ANDREW (d. 1767?), compiler, was perhaps a member of the Reid family of Fifeshire, but migrated to London, probably about 1720, and interested himself in lite-