scottish museum

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925)
“Lady Agnew of Lochna” (1892-1893)
Oil on canvas
Located in the Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland

Andrew Noel Agnew, a barrister who had inherited the baronetcy and estates of Lochnaw in Galloway, commissioned this painting of his young wife, Gertrude Vernon (1865-1932), in 1892. It was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1898 and put Sargent on the map. The sculptor Auguste Rodin described him as ‘the Van Dyck of our times.’ Portrait commissions poured in and Sargent enjoyed something of a cult following in Edwardian society. It also launched Lady Agnew as a society beauty.


Pictish, Celtic and Norse Influenced prehistoric artefacts from the Scottish Isles, The National Museum of Scotland, 24.2.17.


Ornate Brooch excavated at Hunterston in Scotland from the Mid 8th Century CE on display at the National Museums of Scotland in Edinburgh

It is thought to have been made at a Royal Site such as Dunadd, the Hillfort metioned in the Annals of Ulster and supposedly the capital of the Kingdom of the Dál Riata. The skill of the jeweller can be seen in the familiarity of the use of Anglo-Saxon, Irish and Irish-Scottish techniques in decorating the metalwork of silver and gold with amber and other precious metals.

It was most likely a gift from one ruler to another either as a sign of friendship or of peace perhaps. It is a sign of not only material culture being used to symbolise status and rank but also the importance of trained and skilled manufacturers in society.

It is thought that the legend of a Fur-Bearing Trout existing began when a Scottish settler in Canada wrote back to his home. In his letter, he explained that there were many species of “furried animals and fish”. His family, puzzled at the though, requested more information about this furry fish. According to the legend, the settler sent a specimen back to his family. In the Royal Scottish Museum, there hangs a mounted Fur-Bearing Trout that is said to have been caught in Lake Superior. 

John Everett Millais (1829-1896)
“Sweetest eyes that were ever seen”
Located in the Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland

The title is a quote from a poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning “Catarina to Camoens.”

ON the door you will not enter
I have gazed too long: adieu!
Hope withdraws her “peradventure”;
Death is near me,—and not you!
Come, O lover,
Close and cover
These poor eyes you called, I ween,
“Sweetest eyes were ever seen!”


Russian pioneers sword and small percussion pistol belonging to Andrew Drummond of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders on display at their regimental museum in Stirling Castle

Drummond recovered the sword while serving in the Crimea and unusually for a private in the army he carried this pistol as well as his rifle.

He was awarded a medal for distinguished conduct during the war.


The more things change, the more they stay the same

Sir John Soane’s Museum, located in the heart of London at the architect’s former residence, is a beautifully preserved snapshot of 19th century British antiquarianism and collecting. Soane published what could be called an early guidebook to his house and collection in 1835, full of engravings of numerous treasure-filled rooms. The library of the Royal Scottish Academy holds a copy of one of these rare books (only 150 total were printed), made even more special by the fact that Soane himself signed and inscribed it.

It really is amazing to see how little has changed in the museum since the publication of the book- if the ghost of John Soane took to haunting the halls of the museum, I’m sure he would find his favorite artifacts right where he left them!

(L.2016.336 at the RSA library)


Uniforms of Edinburgh Castle Regimental and Army Museums 

½. Royal Horse Artillery dress uniform and a selection of Shakos, Helmets and Dolmans of Scottish Yeomanry regiments.

3. Polish 1st Armoured Division uniform that was stationed in Scotland during the Second World War.

4. Doublet of a pioneer from a Highland Regiment.

5. Officers tunic of the Highland Light Infantry.

6.Tunic of an 18th Century Highland Infantryman.

7/8. Dress uniform of the 42nd Regiment of Foot (Black Watch) worn during the handover of Hong Kong to the Peoples Republic of China.

9. Officers tunic of the Royal Scots regiment.

10. Dress uniform of the Special Air Service (Captain).

Last Friday at the British Museum - the museum stays open late and it was dark inside, with the exhibits strategically lit - everything there was glimpses through and past and from afar. Stolen treasures. So crowded and busy. And now, here we are home to Autumn proper - a chill in the air and geese circling in the blue skies.

5 Things Tag

I was tagged by the fantastic @thetoxicstrawberry!

5 things you can find in my bag

  • my purse
  • a brush
  • a power bank for my phone (as it has a really bad battery)
  • make-up bag
  • a pen

5 things you can find in my bedroom

  • Books everywhere <-same!
  • boxes of stuff (my room is tiny, nowhere to put things)
  • Bird ornaments
  • photography equipment
  • lots of notebooks

5 things I’ve always wanted to do

  • Go on a round the world cruise
  • Live abroad
  • Buy my own house
  • Write a novel
  • Buy a boat

5 things that make me happy

  • Visiting the Scottish Highlands
  • Visiting museums
  • Listening to music
  • Travelling anywhere…If I’ve got a window to look out of I’m happy for hours
  • Maps…Yes, maps!

5 things I’m currently into

  • Naruto (you don’t say!)
  • Yuri on Ice
  • Gardening (I’m a newbie but I’m growing tomatoes (2 varieties), peas, carrots and cucumbers!
  • Cooking (also a relative newbie, but I can actually make a really nice meal when I can be bothered!)
  • Japan (I tend to pick a country at a time to read up on in-depth, and since I’ve gotten into anime, it kind of made sense to make it Japan this time!) 

5 things on my to-do list

  • losing weight (me too!)
  • get my cholesterol down (out of the heart attack zone at least, stupid genetics) 
  • get back to work
  • get over my latest bout of writer’s block
  • win the lottery

5 things you might not know about me

  • I started going grey at the tender age of 27…At least it matches my grey eyes *cries*
  • I’ve had a tough time of it the last couple of years with depression, anxiety, agoraphobia and a PCOS diagnosis, but I’m getting much better now (except the PCOS :/)
  • I went to my first Star Trek convention when I was only 12!
  • I have a habit of day tripping to other countries. So far I’ve day tripped to Ireland, Italy, Austria, France, Morocco and Portugal (though the latter two were on a cruise)
  • I have a degree in Social Sciences, focused on politics (Scottish and EU)

I’m tagging @kunoichi-ume, @edsolka, @mycroftholmesbrolly, @the-social-recluse and @goodguydanzo


Early 20th Century dress uniform, helmet, shako and claybeg sword of the 21st Royal Scots Fusiliers, now the Royal Highland Fusiliers after they amalgamation with the Highland Light Infantry in 1959.

The sword hilt is the alternative to the mortuary hilt of the claybeg in the medieval style.

This is on display at the Royal Highland Fusiliers Museum in Glasgow.

5 Free Things to Do in Edinburgh

Edinburgh was one of those cities that really took me by surprise. I threw it into my itinerary last minute and wasn’t expecting much, but, wow, what a city! If you’re in the UK, you need to take a train up to Edinburgh, it’ll be so worth it.

  1. Hike up Arthur’s Seat
    Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to do this, because it rained the entire time I was in Edinburgh, and didn’t feel getting my shoes and clothes all muddy right before taking my flight home. But I so wish I would’ve done it anyway. Arthur’s Seat offers a great view of the city, and it doesn’t take too long to hike to the top. 
  2. Walk the Royal Mile
    The Royal Mile is a succession of streets that goes through Old Town Edinburgh and there’s a lot of shops to peruse through, as well as major landmarks, like Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace, Tron Kirk, St. Giles Cathedral, as well as other landmarks and statues along the way. Naturally, the street is full of street performers and buskers as well. 
  3. Wander through the closes of Edinburgh
    A “close” is the Scottish term for an alley, and Edinburgh is full of them in Old Town. While you’re walking along the Royal Mile, wander through some closes as well. They’re narrow and steep and it just feels so old, dark, and medieval. I felt like I was going to catch the Bubonic Plague, in a good way! Haha. I love history and the closes really add to the charm of Edinburgh.
  4. Check out some free museums/sights
    There are lots of them! The National Museum of Scotland, The National Galleries of Scotland, Greyfriar’s Kirk and graveyard, St. Giles Cathedral, and the Scottish Writer’s Museum to name a few. 
  5. People watch in Princes Street Gardens
    Princes Street Gardens is between Old Town and New Town Edinburgh, and near the train station. It’s a beautiful park that offers an incredible view of Edinburgh’s skyline and castle. This city is so historic and you really get a sense of that as you sit there and bask in it’s glory. Warning: After sitting here you won’t want to leave. Also, the seagulls will want a piece of your dinner. 
  6. Eat at the Piemaker
    Okay, this isn’t free, and it’s cash only but you have to go here. It’s right off the Royal Mile, and oh my gaaaaahhhhd. It is amazing. The Steak and Ale pie is incredible. I could cry right now, I want it so bad