Bonnie Prince Charlie's canteen '˜shaped Scotland's history'

BONNIE Prince Charlie's travelling cutlery has been named as one of '˜25 objects that impacted on Scotland's history'
Bonnie Prince Charlie's travelling canteen. Picture: VisitScotlandBonnie Prince Charlie's travelling canteen. Picture: VisitScotland
Bonnie Prince Charlie's travelling canteen. Picture: VisitScotland

An elaborate set of travelling canteen discovered at Culloden Battlefield has been revealed by VisitScotland as one of the top objects to have helped shape Scotland’s history in a new e-book.

Other items appearing in the list include a Roman distance slab, a medieval football, Antarctic goggles, a carved footprint and a dancing fiddle.

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The travelling canteen comprises intricate cutlery with two wine cups and is believed to have been a 21st birthday present for Prince Charles Edward Stuart, known to many as Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Bonnie Prince Charlie. Picture: NMSBonnie Prince Charlie. Picture: NMS
Bonnie Prince Charlie. Picture: NMS
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It was made in Edinburgh by staunch Jacobite Ebenezer Oliphant between 1740 and 1711 and presented to Charles in Rome, where the Stuart court was living in exile.

It’s a 16.5cm-high silver canteen decorated with the three-feathered symbol, and houses a small container, a knife and fork, a wine taster, a corkscrew, nutmeg grater and a teaspoon and marrow scoop.

Following the defeat of the Jacobite army at the Battle of Culloden in 1745, it was found in Charles’s baggage at the site on the outskirts of Inverness.

Bonnie Prince Charlie. Picture: NMSBonnie Prince Charlie. Picture: NMS
Bonnie Prince Charlie. Picture: NMS

Compiled by an expert panel for the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, the 25 objects cover over 5,000 years of Scottish history and the length and breadth of the country, from Shetland to Dumfries & Galloway.

The objects were chosen based on chronological and geographic spread alongside their individual interesting stories.

The final 25 were chosen by a panel that included representatives from Historic Environment Scotland, National Museums of Scotland, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and VisitScotland.

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VisitScotland hopes that visitors will go on a trail this summer to discover as many of the objects as possible and in turn discover more about Scotland’s fascinating past.

The Travelling Canteen can be seen at National Museum of Scotland Scottish Galleries, where it will be featured in the Jacobite Exhibition from June to November 2017.

To learn more about Bonnie Prince Charlie’s story, visitors can head to Fort William’s West Highland Museum, which is a treasure trove of Jacobite memorabilia.

The Museum of Island Life in Skye also gives an idea of what life was like on the island to which Charles escaped, disguised as Flora MacDonald’s maid.

The Glenfinnan Monument, at Loch Shiel, honours those who died for the Jacobite cause, and it’s also possible to visit dozens of the beautiful locations featured in the TV drama, Outlander.

The oldest object in the list is a barbed harpoon point (originally found in the Macarthur Cave, Oban) that dates back to the Middle Stone Age, and is one of the earliest instruments used to hunt and fish in Scotland.

The most modern in the list is Dolly the Sheep - the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell – who is currently housed at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh and celebrated her 20th anniversary in 2016.

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More unusual objects on the list include the Orkney Venus – the earliest known depiction of the female human form - which dates from the Neolithic period and was uncovered at the Links of Noltland on the Orkney island of Westray in 2009.

A violin which ignited Robert Burns’ rebellious streak, revealing more about the great Bard’s personality is another object that makes the final cut.

The Gregg Violin was owned by Burns’ dance teacher, William Gregg. In around 1779, Robert Burns started taking dancing lessons and wrote that he hoped these new skills would ‘give my manners a brush’, but it was most likely an act of rebellion because his father did not approve of such seemingly sinful behaviour.

Ken Massie, Head of Strategic Partnerships at VisitScotland, said: “With its important historical links to the region, it is only fitting that Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Travelling Canteen should represent this part of the Highlands on the list as one of the top 25 objects we think best represent Scotland’s rich and colourful history – but it is by no means an exhaustive collection and we know there will be many more out there that people want to add.

“We chose items that were not only important to the history of the country, but also had an interesting narrative behind them and would inspire people to find out more.

“Scotland’s history, heritage and archaeology are among the top reasons for visiting Scotland.

“2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism in every single corner of the country. We hope lots of visitors enjoy this fascinating e-book.”

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Dr Jeff Sanders, Dig It! 2017 Project Manager at the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, said: “As you can imagine, capturing thousands of years of Scottish prehistory and history with just a handful of objects was not an easy task.

“It’s great to see a mixture of old favorites and unexpected items come together to tell a story that opens with the first hunter-gatherers and stretches all the way up to our living memory.

“Now that the list has been revealed, it’s the perfect time to discover Scotland’s stories for yourself during the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.”

Helen Ireland, Director of External Relations, National Museums Scotland said: “We are delighted to be part of this enterprising project in the Year of History Heritage and Archaeology.

“The five objects selected from the national collections demonstrate the incredible range of our collections.

“We hope that the e-book will encourage even more people to discover the outstanding heritage of Scotland and to visit the National Museum of Scotland in particular.”

Full list of Scotland’s History in 25 Objects:

1. Barbed Harpoon Point

2. The Orkney Venus

3. Poltalloch Jet Necklace

4. The Carpow Logboat

5. Mousa Broch

6. Roman Distance Slab

7. Carved Footprint

8. St. Martin’s Cross

9. The Lewis Chessmen

10. Stone Effigy at Sweetheart Abbey

11. Robert the Bruce Equestrian Statue

12. Honours of Scotland

13. Oldest Football

14. Castle of Mey Tapestry

15. Penicuik Jewels

16. Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Travelling Canteen

17. The Gregg Violin

18. Sir Walter Scott’s Desk

19. Mackintosh Trail Music Room

20. Paisley Shawls

21. Tom Morris Junior Medal

22. Dallas Dhu Stencil

23. Captain Scott’s Snow Goggles

24. Steam Locomotive “Maude”

25. Dolly the Sheep