Cultural Deep Dive: Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

Lost Portrait of Charles Edward Stuart

Allan Ramsey’s “Lost portrait” of Charles Edward “Bonnie Prince Charlie” Stuart, currently on display in the Scottish Portrait Gallery.

File under: Context is that which is scarce.

I recently spent two weeks in Scotland. Inspired by Tyler Cowen’s “favorite things” posts (especially this one on Scotland), here are notes on what resonated with me:

Fun fact: Kilts are not ancient attire in Scotland. Contra Braveheart, William Wallace’s men would have worn similar garb to their English adversaries. The “small kilt” widely known today was invented in the 1720s by a Quaker Englishman, Thomas Rawlinson.

On Cultural Immersion

The returns to researching culture compound. For example in the novel Lanark the protagonist attends the Glasgow art school where Macintosh designed the library, which is mentioned, and some sections are incomprehensible without awareness of the Scottish reformation. A whole section of the Scottish portrait gallery is dedicated to Jacobitism. The famous refrain “you take the high road and I’ll take the low road and I’ll be in Scotland before you” is about the soul of an executed Jacobite zipping home.