Fit for a Prince
We were excited to have been successful in obtaining funding from the Association of Independent Museums/Pilgrim's Trust Conservation Grant Scheme in 2018 to restore a chair that once belonged to Bonnie Prince Charlie himself! This beautiful object dates to around 1660, and was reputedly gifted to the MacDonalds of Glencoe by the daughter of Prince Charles Edward Stuart after his death. It was later presented to the Clan Donald Society of Edinburgh by the family of the Chiefs of Glencoe, and from there was donated to Glencoe Folk Museum.
The museum has long had strong links with the MacDonalds of Glencoe. Mrs Jean MacDonald-Clarke – a direct descendant of the MacDonald Chiefs – was very involved in the early days of the museum, and it was through her that a number of our more significant Jacobite items came into our collections. It is exciting for us to have such a strong line of provenance for an item of this age, and, following the success of the fantastic Jacobite exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland in 2017, we felt it was the perfect time to highlight Jacobite collections which remain in the Highlands.
We returned this object to permanent display in 2019 as part of an extended Jacobite exhibition. Our Jacobite collection covers a period of over fifty years, spanning from the massacre of the MacDonalds of Glencoe in 1692 to the fierce repression of Highland culture after the Jacobite’s infamous last stand at the Battle of Culloden in 1746. The chair now takes pride of place in this exhibition, alongside other fascinating Jacobite artefacts such as a Bible which belonged to the MacDonald Chiefs, a White Cockade dating to the 1745 uprising and items belonging to Captain Robert Campbell, the man notorious for leading the Massacre of Glencoe.
The conservation work was carried out by Younger Conservation in 2018, and we are so grateful to them for getting this beautiful chair looking fit for a prince once more.