Scotland: A Truer Picture

The romantic ‘braveheart’ image of Scotland’s past lives on. But, as Christopher A. Whatley shows, a more nuanced ‘portrait of the nation’ is emerging, one that explores the political and religious complexities of Jacobitism and its enduring myth-making power.

This is part two of a four-part series about Britain's history. See also: Cymru am byth?

 Wallace depicted in a children's history book from 1906Visitors to Scotland’s National Gallery in Edinburgh in 2011 will have witnessed an exhibition entitled Portrait of the Nation. The nation is Scotland. As a national self-portrait the exhibition was remarkable. Charles Edward Stuart (‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’) and his family and supporters – the Jacobites – were prominent among the pictures on display. Yet the last of the male Stuart monarchs, James II, lost his throne in 1688. When Queen Anne died in 1713 she was succeeded by George, Elector of Hanover, who became George I. Thus commenced the Hanoverian dynasty in Britain. Attempts were made to restore the Stuarts, most notably the risings of 1715 and 1745. But they failed.

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