In Search of Scotland Exhibition
Special Collections, 2011
In 1929 the English travel writer H. V. Morton made his first journey to Scotland, the land of his ancestors. Travelling up one side of the Scottish coast and down the other, Morton visited almost every nook and cranny that was Scotland. The result was his very successful publication In Search of Scotland (1929).
The exhibition In Search of Scotland in the de Beer Gallery, Special Collections, University of Otago, follows loosely Morton’s coast-line travel. Utilizing lithographic images from a broken copy of John Parker Lawson’s Scotland Delineated (1858), those visiting the exhibition will travel in their mind’s eye up one coast and down the other, using the 19th century images of castles, abbeys, and landscape scenes as guides.
Starting at the border with ‘Kelso Abbey’, and then on to ‘Dunure Castle’ in South Ayrshire, the journey proceeds up the west coast to Bute, Staffa, Skye, and then down the east to Elgin, St Andrews, Balmoral, Stirling, and finally to Edinburgh. Beside each lithographic image are publications that highlight Scotland’s cultural, social, and economic past.
Topics covered include music, writers such as Robert Burns, James Hogg, and Robert Louis Stevenson, cooking, religion, travel, battles, printing in Scotland, Kings and Queens of Scotland, and the Scottish Enlightenment. This imaginative journey of Scotland is undertaken in 18 display cabinets; coverage is therefore selective.
Notable items on display include James Johnson’s The Scots Musical Museum (1803), containing songs by Robert Burns, Allan Ramsay’s The Ever Green, Being a Collection of Scots Poems (1724), James Hogg’s Altrive Tales (1835), James Brome’s Travels over England, Scotland and Wales (1707), Daniel Defoe’s A Tour thro’ the Whole Island of Great Britain (1753), Dr Johnson’s A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland (1775), and Thomas Pennant’s A Tour in Scotland MDCCLXIX (1790), and a large copy of Greenville Collins’s Great Britain’s Coasting Pilot (1749), detailing the Orkneys. One highlight is the small M’Phun’s Guide through Glasgow (1734), a presentation copy to James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd. Some coverage will also be given to Scottish emigration to New Zealand, the Tartan, and Scottish authors then and now.
In Search of Scotland starts on 30 September and runs through to 16 December 2011. Please enjoy the journey
Download the 'In Search of Scotland' Hand List (in PDF format)