Bonnie Prince Charlie keepsakes make up Jacobite exhibition at Perth Museum & Art Gallery

3rd November 2016

A display of a unique sword and targe belonging to Bonnie Prince Charlie from the collections of National Museums Scotland has now opened to the public at Perth Museum and Art Gallery and will be on display until 25 February 2017.

Touring in advance of the opening of a major Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites exhibition next summer at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, the sword and the targe or Highland shield were probably gifted to Prince Charles Edward Stuart, better known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, by James, 3rd Duke of Perth, a committed supporter of the Jacobite cause.

The display also features Jacobite objects and archival material from the Collections and Archive of Perth and Kinross Council which are cared for by Culture Perth and Kinross. As well as highlighting the role of Perthshire in the Jacobite uprisings, this display explores the figure of James Drummond, 3rd Duke of Perth, who was a leading Jacobite. Raised near Crieff, the Duke became lieutenant-general of the highland army and participated in the Jacobite victory at the Battle of Prestonpans before marching into England and laying siege to Carlisle Castle in 1745.

Chief Executive of Culture Perth and Kinross, Helen Smout welcomed the display saying:

“We are delighted to be able to work in partnership with National Museums Scotland to bring these significant objects to Perth, highlighting their connection to the area and setting them into context with material from Perth’s own collections and archives”.

The intricately decorated sword and targe on tour from National Museums Scotland were presented to Prince Charles Edward Stuart by the Duke of Perth, while Prince Charles Edward was residing with the exiled Stuart court in Rome. The targe was rescued from Culloden battlefield in 1746 by Jacobite colonel Ewan MacPherson of Cluny and remained in his family until the twentieth century. After the defeat of the Jacobite army at Culloden in 1746, the backsword was recovered and given to the Government commander, William, Duke of Cumberland.

The display also features “The Battle of Culloden” a recently acquired mid-18th century manuscript poem narrating the musings of Prince Charles Edward Stuart and fictitious conversations between The Duke of Perth, Lady Weem, The Duke of Cumberland and Major James Lockhart following the Jacobite’s brutal defeat on Culloden field.

Jenny Kinnear, Collections and Programming Manager at Culture Perth and Kinross explains:

“We are delighted to present this new acquisition to our Jacobite collection. For the first time this beautifully preserved manuscript will be made available to the public. We hope that its presence, alongside these items of local significance, will generate much thought-provoking interest from our visitors”.

The Gifts for a Jacobite Prince Exhibition forms part of a season of commemorative exhibitions and events entitled Perth & Kinross Remembers including:

Art of War (1 October 2016 – 25 February 2017) Perth Museum & Art Gallery: An exhibition examining the way in which modern conflict has been documented by artists from the Victorian period to the present day. Guided tour: 30 November 2016. 1-1.30pm.

Flowers of the Forest (8-16 November) A.K. Bell: This exhibition draws on research and memorialisation projects undertaken by local community groups.

Next of Kin (11 November 2016 – 6 February 2017) Perth Museum & Art Gallery: A major touring exhibition from National Museums Scotland highlighting the personal stories of soldiers and families in the First World War. Battle of the Somme (11 November 7.30pm) Film screening with Andy Robertshaw.

The Making of War Horse (12 November 2-3pm) Perth Museum & Art Gallery: Find out the secrets behind Steven Spielberg’s film adaptation of War Horse at this talk by the film’s lead historical advisor, Andy Robertshaw.

A Bloody Business (24 November 6.30-7.45pm) Perth Museum & Art Gallery: Join historian Mike Taylor to discover about the modern and not-so-modern weapons carried by both sides during the Great War.

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