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Wild and Majestic: Romantic Visions of Scotland - exhibition at The National Museum of Scotland from 26 June - 10 November 2019

Wild and Majestic: Romantic Visions of Scotland

This summer the National Museum of Scotland presents a new exhibition examining how "the cultural traditions of the highlands had become fixed as a representation of wider Scottish identity and shows 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."

Wild and Majestic: Romantic Visions of Scotland is supported by Baillie Gifford Investment Managers and runs from 26 June to 10 November.

This copy is taken from The National Museums of Scotland website.

What is a commonplace notebook?

What is a ‘commonplace’ notebook?

The ‘commonplace book’ popular in the 16th and 17th centuries was a sort of personal scrapbook.

Writers, scientists, philosophers, thinkers – let’s call them writers, used commonplace notebooks where they could copy, or jot down, items of interest. The commonplace, then, was a personal treasure trove of information. Although the printing press had been invented in 1450, by Gutenberg, and thus enabled the mass production of books and fast flow of knowledge across Europe, it would take another 400 years for printing presses to be ‘common'.

Sharing with friends

Paper and notebooks were expensive, so in the 1500s and 1600s, writers lent their commonplace books to friends. Friends then would pore through the entries and copy anything of interest for themselves in their commonplace notebook.

The practice of maintaining a commonplace book and exchanging texts with others also served as a form of self-definition. The poems or aphorisms you chose to copy into your book, or to pass on to your correspondents, said a lot about you. The commonplace book as a whole was a reflection of your character and personality.

Did Robert Burns wear tartan/plaid? And did Burns wear a kilt?

At this time of year, with Hogmanay fast approaching, eyes turn to Scotland.

We have been recently asked - did Robert Burns wear tartan and did he wear a kilt?

Burns was a lowland farmer. He was conventionally dressed, in breeches. He wore the Shepherd's Check, a black and white checked fabric. This design is also known as the Border tartan, and that is sometimes known as the Northumbrian tartan, Shepherd's Plaid, or Borders' check. It has been around for a long time and so it has many names. Sir Walter Scott was also known to wear the Border tartan. James Hogg also wore this tartan. The modern Border tartan is a crossweave of small dark and light checks, much simpler than many of the colourful, complex tartans we know and think of today when tartan is mentioned.

last orders for Christmas through this website:

Last order date to arrive by Royal Mail in the UK by Christmas:
We need your orders by Sunday 16th December. All orders are swiftly despatched by BookSource. Any order placed after 16th December - sorry, we cannot guarantee it to arrive in time for Christmas. Thank you for your orders and best wishes from the team in Glasgow.