Carolina Oliphant, Lady Nairne, a contemporary of Robert Burns, wrote over 80 songs which enjoyed great popularity during her lifetime and still do so up to the present day. They are some of Scotland's most famous traditional songs - including 'Charlie Is My Darling', 'A Hundred Pipers', 'Will Ye No' Come Back Again' and 'The Laird of Cockpen'. Despite their popularity, she shunned publicity and never acknowledged her authorship in her lifetime, even concealing it from her husband for a time. After her death, the publication in 1846 of her collected songs and poems as Lays from Strathearn revealed her secret.
Partly because of her lifelong reticence, details of her biography and her personality have remained little-known though her songs are famous, and this important Scottish literary figure has been neglected. Freeland Barber, a descendent of Lady Nairne, now presents a long-overdue biography and reassessment of her life and work, much of it based on research into family papers to which he has recently had access.