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Innovative Art Project Commemorates the Massacre of Glencoe

Posted: 9th February 2015

To mark the 300th anniversary of the 1715 Jacobite uprising and the events leading to it, an innovative video celebrating one of Sir Walter Scott’s lesser-known works has been released.

Scott’s ‘On the Massacre of Glencoe’ poem commemorates one of the darkest incidents in Scottish history – the Massacre of Glencoe which saw more than 70 Highlanders killed for alleged treason.

On 13 February 1692, Government soldiers massacred 38 members of the MacDonald clan in their own homes – with 40 more women and children dying of exposure in the bitter Scottish winter after fleeing the violence. The attack came after the Highlanders were accused of being too slow to declare allegiance to the new Protestant monarchs, William and Mary, who had deposed the Catholic James VII (II of England).

The atrocity is widely regarded by historians as playing an important role in mobilising popular support across the Highlands for the Jacobite cause, leading to the 1715 uprising which sought to put James Edward Stuart, son of James VII, on the throne.

Now, more than 300 years later, and coinciding with a new exhibition at the National Library of Scotland, an Edinburgh-based company is striving to raise awareness of the role which the events played in Scottish history.

Double Take Projections has created a video showing the words of Sir Walter Scott’s poem, being beamed, on location, onto the Glencoe scenery, including Buachaille Etive Beag. The writer was approached in 1811 by Edinburgh scholar George Thompson to put words to a popular Scottish folk tune.

Sir Eric Anderson, world renowned expert on Sir Walter Scott and Trustee of the Abbotsford Trust, said: “Violence was accepted during that violent age, but even then it was a heinous crime for guests to murder their hosts. Scott felt, as most people did, that the breach of the code of hospitality left a permanent stain on Highland honour.”

The National Library of Scotland’s ‘Game of Crowns’ exhibition tells the story of this bloody period in Scotland’s history through original letters, manuscripts, books, maps and portraits from the time.

It includes the original handwritten order for the Massacre which opens with the chilling command: ‘You are hereby ordered to fall upon the rebels, the McDonalds of Glenco, and putt all to the sword under seventy.’

Robert Betteridge, Rare Books Curator at the National Library of Scotland, said: “The massacre of Glencoe is still seen today as one of the most shameful moments in Scottish history. This video is a unique way to commemorate an event which is known to people all round the world.”

Double Take Projections’ video will be available to view as part of the exhibition between 2pm and 5.30pm in the National Library’s boardroom on Friday 13 February.

Steven McConnachie, Director of Double Take Projections, said: “We felt it was important to mark the Massacre of Glencoe and the part it played in the 1715 Jacobite uprising, particularly in this 300th anniversary year.

“I’ve always been interested in history but recognised the need to do something a bit different to get people’s attention and raise awareness of this chapter in Scotland’s history. Fortunately the technology and expertise we have available at Double Take Projections has allowed us to produce a video which will capture peoples’ imaginations.”

Game of Crowns: The 1715 Jacobite Rising runs until Sunday 10 May 2015 at the National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh. Entry is free.

The video was shot by Adam Robertson and the poem narrated by Peter Rogan. It can be viewed here.

A full downloadable edit of the video and accompanying still photography is available. Please contact:

Chris Black

The BIG Partnership

0141 333 9585 / 07969 814 003

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