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Inspiring Walter Scott

Sometimes credited with the invention of the historical novel, Scott himself was an antiquarian and collector. He was an active member of the Society of Antiquaries for Scotland, whose collections went on to form the initial core of the Scottish collections of National Museums Scotland. In this small exhibition we show how Scott drew upon real historical objects for inspiration in his writing, by placing objects alongside Scott's words, and the stories in which they feature. While you view these fascinating objects, you can listen to an actor's recordings of extracts from these tales.

Amongst the treasures on display, you can see a c1745 Jacobite drinking glass engraved with an image of Bonnie Prince Charlie, the type of which feature in Scott's The Bride of Lammermuir, a sword belonging to a Covenanter, as in Old Mortality,  and a model of a dangerous sporran clasp with four concealed pistols as described in Rob Roy. The exhibition opens with the Harden spurs which appear in Scott's The Reiver's Wedding.

The juxtaposition of real objects and Scott’s words will help us understand how these amazing material things were so intrinsic to Scott’s writing process.


For more information visit our website. 

06.08.2021 - 08.01.2023

Mon-Fri 10:00 -17:00
Sat-Sun 10:00 - 17:00

Adults - Free
Concessions - Free
Under 14's - Free

National Museum of Scotland