Lady Margaret Crichton-Stuart, was the daughter of John Patrick-Stuart, the 3rd Marquess of Bute, her daughter Gwendoline was named after her own mother. It is through Gwendoline’s daughter, Daphne Battine, that the collection descends to the current vendor.
Lady Margaret Crichton-Stuart married Colin MacRae of Feoirlinn, a Colonel in the British Army, in 1909. He was appointed Commander of the British Empire (C.B.E.), and held the office of Deputy Lieutenant (D.L.) as well as the office of Justice of the Peace (J.P.). MacRae was a member of the prestigious Royal Company of Archers. In 1935, he received his knighthood and served with distinction throughout his Army career. The National Portrait Gallery houses his portraits, NPG x152976, showcasing his rank in full dress uniform.
MacRae was a huge enthusiast and patron of pipe music and, in particular, Piobaireachd. Both he and Lady Margaret were well-regarded, and supporters of the Highlands. Their links to their Highland heritage seems to have driven their appetite for collecting such artefacts. An article in the Scotsman on 20 August 1945, shows that MacRae accepted the invitation to the Bi-centenary of the ‘Forty Five at Glenfinnan'. Perhaps this allegiance to the Highland cause shaped their collecting of Jacobite works of art, which can be seen particularly in the Jacobite quaich. This quaich is purported to be a gift to Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s servant Ronald MacDonald after the battle at Culloden and a pocketbook relating to the executed Lord Lovat, perhaps showing their sympathies to well-known Jacobite supporters. The collection also includes a group of commemorative medallions, including two rare pendants showing support for the Stuart King Charles.
Keen to display items of Scottish importance, in 1955, parts of this impressive collection would ultimately be on long-term loan to the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland, after the death of MacRae, continuing some time into the 1980s.
We are delighted to present select pieces from this collection to auction in our 16 August Scottish Works of Art & Whisky sale. Below we take a closer look at a few highlights from the collection.
It is believed there are around 40 different versions of Royalist / Stuart supporters' badges such as this example were created from the overthrow of Charles I in 1649, and latterly beheaded, to the restoration of the monarchy in 1660. Worn by supporters of the Stuart royal family they would have been hidden under clothing and a highly personal accessory. They were presumably only shown to other supporters or to back up a person's claim to be a supporter.
This example is a particularly fine survival, not only being in silver gilt, rarely seen, but with the pearl suspended from the base. This pearl has romantically been considered to represent the tears shed for the deposed and executed King. It may also represent the pearl earring Charles wore on the gallows before his beheading (now within Portland Collection Museum) and can so be seen in the Van Dyke portrait ‘Charles I in Three Positions’.
The inscribed note within the pages of this pocketbook is intriguing and appears to show the varied allegiances Lovat was so famous for. The ‘Allegiance and Adjuration’ mentioned in 1738 is likely Lord Lovat confirming his undivided support for the newly born Prince George William Frederick, eldest son of Frederick Prince of Wales, who would later be crowned King George III in 1760 who was born in June of this year.
Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat (1667/ 8 - 1747) came from a line of Jacobites which included his father, Thomas, who had played a powerful role in the Jacobite rising under John Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee, in 1689, for which he suffered imprisonment.
Simon had a rather colourful and, in some cases, unseemly early life, trying to bribe family members to change inheritance and lands to his benefit. Trying to force his cousin to marry him when his bribery failed, however marrying her protector under duress in her stead, only to call the marriage a sham years later when its value was not apparent – having married two other women while not divorced from her.
Trouble followed him most of his early life and it took a pardon from King William, only after he had been found guilty of High Treason. However, this plea to King William was for personal gain only and he was still harbouring his Jacobite feelings. Shortly after, he made two trips to the Jacobite Court in St Germaine. To further enhance his relationship in the Stuart court, and after King William’s death, he converted to Catholicism and met with Mary of Modena and the titular James VIII and III. He aligned himself with the Duke of Perth’s factions and was promoting an uprising from as early as 1703.
By 1715 he had bought his pardon and returned to London. By this time, the Duke of Argyll had convinced him to support King George I. He headed north towards Inverness and took and held the city on behalf of King George. His fortunes now changing for the better, he appeared a Hanoverian. However, the disbandment of his forces and the city handed to others meant his income fell and his rise was short-lived. This likely helped push him away from the Hanoverians and before long back to the Jacobites.
This change of allegiances was as blatant as it was regular, and it appears it was only his highly regarded charm that kept him out of trouble, balancing the possibilities of uprising and establishment. This renowned charm got him not only into, but more often out of, some rather tricky situations between King George and King James on both sides.
By 1745 it was clear that his Whig allegiances had not given him the power, land, and full title he had expected, and this seems to have sent him back, for a final time, to the Stuart cause. As early as 1690 King James had promised him reward for his support as Lieutenant-General of the Highlands; furthermore, the Pretender might be willing to elevate him to a Dukedom. In 1739 Lovat was the first to join the association formed to invite the Pretender to land in Scotland; his allegiance was secured by the promise of a patent of a dukedom.
Although a player from the outset in the return of Prince Charles Edward Stuart, Lovat was not at Glenfinnan in August, in part, due to feigned sickness possibly in part as the promised patent of Dukedom had not reached him. This countered with the non-arrival of the French troops, part of the original party’s plans perhaps caused him some points of thought.
Even throughout the campaigns, once he had pledged the Lovat Fraser’s and himself to the cause, he was keeping all avenues open and wrote regularly to the Whig hierarchy, still hoping that if they could not turn him, they could at least secure his neutrality.
By 1746 Lovat was in his 80’s and hardly a player on the battlefield. This fell to his son and heir who was threatened by disinheritance not to take part. He indeed was captured and imprisoned in Inverness, only to escape with help from local friends.
After the defeat of Culloden, Prince Charles fled and sought shelter from Lovat, who urged him on and promised men for another battle, presumably seeing his hopes, land, fortune, and life slipping from his grasp. Charles declined and left, Lovat fled his home too, and en route seeing his previous castles burned in retribution by William, Duke of Cumberland. In his escape, he is recorded as having a close shave with Hanoverian troops sailing up Loch Morar and he hid in a hollow tree to evade capture. However, the tree could not hide him, and he was spotted and taken prisoner to Fort William.
Transported to London, he was interviewed and famously sketched by William Hogarth, whose engraving became in high demand. Lovat at this time was described by the Gentleman's Magazine thus:
“Lord Lovat makes an odd figure, being generally more loaded with clothes, than a Dutchman with his ten pair of breeches; he is tall, walks very upright considering his great age, and is tolerably well shaped; he has a large mouth and a short nose, with eyes very much contracted and down-looking, a very small forehead, almost all covered with a large periwig; this gives him a grim aspect, but upon addressing anyone he puts on a smiling countenance”.
He was tried for High Treason before the House of Lords and gave his own defence, much evidence was given and debated, was legally questionable. At the end of his case, in inimitable fashion and charm, he replied: “Nothing except to thank your lordship for your goodness to me. God bless you all, and I wish you an eternal farewell. We shall not meet again in the same place; I am sure of that”.
While public executions always attracted crowds, that of Simon Lord Lovat attracted a huge crowd by any measure. Perhaps the larger-than-life character, his life story and advanced age convinced more to turn out for this. Due to this popularity, the crowds were huge and too much for the erected scaffolding platforms to hold, resulting in their destruction under the weight of the crowd, killing 20 spectators.
True to his character, Lovat found this implausibly funny and was seen to laugh heartily and loud all the way to the executioner's block. It is reputed that this is the origin of the saying to ‘laugh your head off’ Lovat apparently laughing till his final moments. This seems a little extension of the truth as his final words are recorded, taken from Horace 'Dulce et decorum patria mori'
Lovat was beheaded and latterly buried at Tower Hill on April 9th, 1747.
Elizabeth Stuart (28 December 1635 – 8 September 1650) was the second daughter of Charles I, King of England, Scotland and Ireland, and his wife, Henrietta Maria of France.
From age six until her death at age 15, Elizabeth was a prisoner of the English Parliament during the English Civil War. Her emotional written account of her final meeting with her father on the eve of his execution and his final words to his children have been published in numerous histories about the Civil War and Charles I.
James promises a royal pardon to all transgressors against 'our royal father, or our-selves', to call a free parliament t'to repair the breeches [sic] caused by so long an usupration', to 'free our people from the unsupportable burthen of the malt-tax and all other hardships', and to guarantee the free exercise of religion for Protestants. The text was printed in A Collection of Declarations, Proclamations, and Other Valuable Papers. Published by authority at Edinburgh, in the years 1745 and 1746 (Edinburgh, 1748, ESTC T163990).
Lyon & Turnbull is the undisputed market leader when it comes to dedicated Scottish silver auctions, with an annual dedicated sale in August held in our Scottish auction house in Edinburgh and via live online auction. Our specialists’ in-depth knowledge of Scottish provincial silver and the current market have proved to be an essential combination to the successful sale of provincial silver from not only the silversmiths of Edinburgh and Glasgow but also Elgin, Ballater, Aberdeen and Perth.
SCOTTISH SILVER, JACOBITE WORKS OF ART & WHISKY