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Art and Identity in Scotland
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Book description

This lively and erudite cultural history of Scotland, from the Jacobite defeat of 1745 to the death of an icon, Sir Walter Scott, in 1832, examines how Scottish identity was experienced and represented in novel ways. Weaving together previously unpublished archival materials, visual and material culture, dress and textile history, Viccy Coltman re-evaluates the standard clichés and essentialist interpretations which still inhibit Scottish cultural history during this period of British and imperial expansion. The book incorporates familiar landmarks in Scottish history, such as the visit of George IV to Edinburgh in August 1822, with microhistories of individuals, including George Steuart, a London-based architect, and the East India Company servant, Claud Alexander. It thus highlights recurrent themes within a range of historical disciplines, and by confronting the broader questions of Scotland's relations with the rest of the British state it makes a necessary contribution to contemporary concerns.


'By focusing on material and visual evidence, Professor Coltman brings fresh and original perspectives to the study of Scottish identity‎. The perceptive arguments within the book are complemented by an impressive examination of relevant original sources. The result is an important study.'

Sir Tom Devine - Professor Emeritus, University of Edinburgh

'Viccy Coltman's book explores the multiple negotiations of Scottish identity with Britain, Europe and the Empire through art and material culture with flair, skill and a wide range of reference. Fresh thoughts and insights are everywhere, from Warren Hastings' visit to Ossian's Hall to the commodification of Paul Sandby. Highly recommended.'

Murray Pittock - Bradley Professor of English Literature, University of Glasgow

‘Coltman’s book is an illuminating and entertaining contribution to the study of Scottish visual culture, opening the ongoing debate about Scottish identity to cosmopolitan and colonial influences, and widening the range of critical perspectives brought to bear upon it.’

Nigel Leask Source: H-Albion

‘As a cultural history, Coltman's book is exemplary, informed by considerable new archival material, shuffling her pack of slippery identity concepts with great dexterity, and lightened by flashes of wit throughout.’

Robin N. Campbell Source: Journal of the Scottish Society for Art History

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