This major exhibition will explore how, in the era of the European Romantic movement of the 18th and 19th century, Scotland became the subject of international fascination and, by the end of Queen Victoria’s reign, a particular version of the cultural traditions of the Highlands and islands had become fixed as a badge of wider Scottish identity.

The exhibition will show how this romanticised ideal of Scotland was not purely invention, as cultural traditions were preserved, idealised and reshaped to suit contemporary tastes against a background of political agendas, economic and social change from the end of the Jacobite challenges to the reign of Queen Victoria. 

Through rich displays reflecting the colour and flamboyance of the Highland image, the exhibition will present the complex and contested history through key developments such as the Ossian controversy, the foundation of Highland societies, the overturning of the ban on Highland dress, the pageantry around the 1822 royal visit to Scotland by King George IV, the Highland tourism boom, and the creation of a romantic idyll for Queen Victoria at Balmoral.

  • Painting of the Laird of Grant's Piper, William Cumming by Richard Waitt, 1714.

    Painting of the Laird of Grant's Piper, William Cumming by Richard Waitt, 1714.
  • John Knox, 'Landscape with Tourists at Loch Katrin', oil on canvas, 1815 © National Galleries of Scotland.

    John Knox, 'Landscape with Tourists at Loch Katrin', oil on canvas, 1815 © National Galleries of Scotland.
  • Ledgers of tartan samples formed by the Highland Society of London, c. 1820.

    Ledgers of tartan samples formed by the Highland Society of London, c. 1820.
  • Glass used at the banquet given in honour of George IV during his visit to Edinburgh in 1822.

    Glass used at the banquet given in honour of George IV during his visit to Edinburgh in 1822.
  • Part of the uniform of a member of the Royal Company of Archers c1820.

    Part of the uniform of a member of the Royal Company of Archers c1820.
  • Set of Highland bagpipes of laburnum, silver and ivory mounted, with Royal Stewart tartan cover, Edinburgh c1850.

    Set of Highland bagpipes of laburnum, silver and ivory mounted, with Royal Stewart tartan cover, Edinburgh c1850.
  • Silver plaid brooch set with a cairngorm in the centre and a ring of sixteen carbuncles round it, worn by the chiefs of Clanranald, mid-19th century.

    Silver plaid brooch set with a cairngorm in the centre and a ring of sixteen carbuncles round it, worn by the chiefs of Clanranald, mid-19th century.
  • Sword of MacGregor of MacGregor, worn at 1822 visit Scottish, Edinburgh, probably by Marshall and Son, c1822.

    Sword of MacGregor of MacGregor, worn at 1822 visit Scottish, Edinburgh, probably by Marshall and Son, c1822.


#WildandMajestic

Supported by

Baillie Gifford Investment Managers

Header image: John Knox, 'Landscape with Tourists at Loch Katrin', oil on canvas, 1815 © National Galleries of Scotland.

Exhibition information

When

26 Jun - 10 Nov 2019

Where

Exhibition Gallery 1, Level 3, National Museum of Scotland

How much

Price tbc

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