Non-Scottish Scots: or More Scottish than the Scots

Old postcard sent in 1904.

Old postcard sent in 1904.

Mr. Jones from London is representative of a type who for one reason or another needs to show the world the person he wants to be, even if it isn't really what he is. He may be doing it to show his allegiance, maybe even in denial of what he actually is, or he may simply want to fit in. Scottish culture, with its distinctive plaid uniform, is especially open to this tendency. On the back of Mr Jones's postcard, the sender asks "Is this still to be the style of the wedding dresses, Charlie?" The card is addressed to C. Bulloch in London.

No one exemplifies this characteristic better than Theodore Napier, born in Melbourne, Australia in 1845.

Theodore Napier, 'In the Garb of the Old Gaul.' An antique postcard published by JR Russell, Edinburgh.

Theodore Napier, 'In the Garb of the Old Gaul.' An antique postcard published by JR Russell, Edinburgh.

"Highland Chief, Costume of the XVII Century. A postcatd sent in 1904.

Theodore's parents were Scottish, who emigrated to Australia in 1832. He was one of ten children, though only two survived into adulthood. Aged 14, Theodore was sent to Scotland to finish his education, which included a degree in civil engineering at Edinburgh University. He returned to Australia in 1865 where he married Mary Anne Noble. He inherited a sizeable estate on the death of his father which allowed him to pursue his passion, Scotland, without any distractions. The couple settled in Scotland in 1893.

Napier was always a passionate nationalist who pursued the cause of an independant Scotland relentlessly. He also enjoyed being noticed: in Australia, he would dress in Charles-1st-style Cavalier outfit, as if out of a Van Dyck portrait, and back in Scotland he insisted on full Highland regalia when out in public. This postcard, shown to the left and sent in 1904, identifies him at the bottom: "Theodore Napier. I saw him in Hanover Street." I think he would have been an unmissable figure.

The Last of the Clansmen. A Valentine 'Souvenir Post Card.'

The Last of the Clansmen. A Valentine 'Souvenir Post Card.'

And what about this one?

"A Highland Fisherman." Another postcard by JR Russell, Edinburgh.

His name does not appear on these images, but I can't help thinking that this is Theodore once again.

And here is Theodore once again in his role as Highland Chief. An interesting postcard, showing the French poet Botrel and his wife, welcomed to Scotland by the 'Chef de Clan Ecossais' and his pipers.

"En Grande Bretagne." A postcard published by Breizi.

Further south still, the Dagenham Girl Pipers were formed in 1930. The Rev. Joseph Waddington Graves, minister of Osborne Hall Congregational Church plucked 12 girls from his Sunday School, who, under the tutorship of Pipe-Major Douglas Scott-Taylor, were woven into a display team playing 400 engagements a year by 1937, some of them abroad.

Late 19th century(?) CDV, a photo taken in Adelaide.

Of course, those who emigrate are always likely to be overtly passionate about the country they left behind, especially when it is as beautiful a country as Scotland. I suspect this next CDV (Carte de visite) was sent back to Britain by emigres. "Dear Grandmama," it says on the back. "Charlie 3 yrs. old." I wonder if Charlie had ever seen Scotland, but here he is in the full regalia. The studio where the photo was taken was owned by T. Duryea, Photographer to His Excellency, 66 King William St., Adelaide.

Further south, there is a fine display of Highland Dress in this image titled "Empire Day Pageant at Sheffield, 1907."

It is not clear whether Miss Irene Owen from Scotland is just visiting the States, but here she is in Chicago, showing her paces in the Liberty Pageant, 1919.

A 19th century photograph, place and photographer unknown.

A 19th century photograph, place and photographer unknown.

This photo below may be a similar scenario, an interesting image with what looks like a black nanny or governess. It could be in Scotland, but the weatherboarded veranda suggests to me more America, or even the Caribbean, than the Highlands.

America seems to have its own 'Sixteenth century Scottish Highland village." The back of this card is titled:

 "Invershiel, a Sixteenth century Scottish Highland village at Linville, North Carolina, showing "Bill Goat" mowing the sod roof of Croft house."

Note the goat!

Emigres to Scotland might on the other hand want to blend into their new homeland.

This engraving is of a French brother and sister, looking as Scottish as could be. The Duc de Bordeaux had for a few days proclaimed himself Henry V of France, but France did not want a king, and the family went into exile in 1830. They settled first in Scotland, living at 11 (now 12) Regent Terrace, Edinburgh. However, Scotland was not to their liking and they moved back to the Continent in 1832.

France has always had a strong affiliation to Scotland. Is this a stylish Scotsman in France, or a stylish Frenchman adopting Scottish dress?

A CDV portrait, subject unknown. From the studio of Durand, Quai d'Orleans, 11, Lyon.

A CDV portrait, subject unknown. From the studio of Durand, Quai d'Orleans, 11, Lyon.

Certainly, Scottish fashion has always had a place in France, even if it is not immediately obvious:

"1816: Robe a Carreaux ecossais en etoffe de soie." From le Journal des Dames et le Petit Courrier des Dames.

"Modes Vraies. Travail en Famille." October, 1862.

American trade card c1900, advertising Button & Ottley, M'f'rs., 56 Warren Street, New York.

American trade card c1900, advertising Button & Ottley, M'f'rs., 56 Warren Street, New York.

Sometimes the foreign concept of Scotland was just wrong. I really don't think much baseball was played in the Highlands c1900.

The distinctive nature of classic Scottish appearance made it a gift for the stage and music hall. General Tom Thumb was a hugely successful dwarf artiste who was employed by Barnum's Circus. His all-round talent raised the general tone of what had, up to then, been just freak shows, and he became a rich man, performing all over the world. He adopted the persona of a number of characters, including Napoleon Bonaparte, and is seen below in Highland apparel. In the 1840s he made tours to Europe, playing in front of Queen Victoria.

"General Tom Thumb, 1860. Born January 4th 1838." An image from the London Stereoscopic Company.

"Highland Vivandiere." Theatrical Costume, c.1880. An original watercolour by F.A.B.

Another image from the world of theatre, this an original watercolour by someone who signs themself "F.A.B." Titled "Highland Vivandiere", it comes from a collection of theatrical costume designs, possibly for a production of W.S Gilbert's burlesque "La Vivandiere."

Finally, an image I don't really understand. A postcard dating from the Russo-Japanese war 1904/5. The Japanese gentleman looks to be in full Scottish uniform, and yet.....The Japanese love the plaid - many school uniforms in Japan make use of tartan design.

"Russisch-Japanischer Krieg." An early 20th century postcard.

There is no doubt about this lot, though. A truly Scottish family, a photograph from 'Mr B's Studio, 55 Argyle St., Glasgow'! The real McCoy!