John Pinkerton was educated in the grammar-school at Lanark by a brother-in-law of James Thomson; he studied law at Edinburgh and corresponded with James Beattie, to whom he dedicated Craigmillar Castle (1776). An antiquarian acquaintance of Percy, Walpole, and Gibbon, Pinkerton was a determined foe of all things Celtic. For a short time he edited the Critical Review. Pinkerton adopted the pseudonym "Robert Heron," not to be confused with Robert Heron (1764-1807). He spent his later years living impoverished in Paris.
1776Craigmillar Castle. An Elegy.
1781Melody I. The Education of the Muse.
1781Ode X. L'Ozioso.
1781Ode XII. To an Antiquary.
1781Sonnet I. On the Progress of the English Language.
1785Letters of Literature XLI. On Imitation.
Craigmillar castle: an elegy. 1776.
Scottish tragic ballads. 1781.
Two dithyrambic odes. 1782.
Tales, in verse. 1782.
Other juvenile poems. nd.
Select Scottish ballads. 2 vols, 1783.
An essay on medals. 1784.
Letters of literature, by R. Heron. 1785.
The treasury of wit ... by H. Bennet. 2 vols, 1786.
Ancient Scotish poems never before in print. 2 vols, 1786.
A dissertation on the origin and progress of the Scythians or Goths. 1787.
An enquiry into the history of Scotland, preceding the year 1056. 2 vols, 1789.
Vitae antiquae sanctorum qui habitaverunt in ea parte Britanniae nunc vocata Soctia. 1789.
The medallic history of England to the Revolution. 1790.
A new tale of a tub. 1790.
The Bruce [Barbour, ed. Pinkerton]. 3 vols, 1790.
Scottish poems, reprinted from scarce editions. 3 vols, 1792.
Iconographia Scotia. 1797.
The history of Scotland from the accession of the House of Stuart to that of Mary. 2 vols, 1797.
The Scottish gallery: or portraits of eminent persons of Scotland. 1799.
Walpoliana. 2 vols, 1799.
Modern geography. 2 vols, 1802.
Recollections of Paris in the years 1802-05. 2 vols, 1806.
Petralogy: a treatise on rocks. 2 vols, 1811.
The literary correspondence of Pinkerton, ed. Dawson Turner. 2 vols, 1830.
The correspondence of Thomas Percy and John Pinkerton, ed. Harriet Harvey Wood. 1985.