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    August 2022
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    Our Top 15 Most Popular Posts!

    Mairiuna, before the New Year ramps up, why not investigate about our most popular posts to see what are our readers’ favourite subjects?

    Let’s see what the stats reveal. Suspense….

    And the winners are :

    Rannoch Moor ©2006 Scotiana

    1. Rannoch Moor:  First Steps Into The Scottish Wilderness

    People seemed to be energized in the clear and fresh atmosphere of the place and everybody looked happy and cheerful, not to say euphoric.

    It’s one of our best travel memories. But beware of the appearances!

    The weather is very changing in Scotland and Rannoch Moor may suddenly offer a gloomier face to its visitors and even prove to be dangerous for unprepared walkers …

    Read more…. | Watch Video ( Royal Scotsman entering Rannoch Station)

    The Complete Book of Tartan by Iain Zaczek and Charles Phillips

    The Complete Book of Tartan by Iain Zaczek and Charles Phillips

    2. Scottish Tartans: “Children Of The Mist”, The Clan MacGregor

    Scottish clans have more than one tartan attributed to their name and the only person to make a clan tartan an “official” one is the chief. Surprisingly enough, the “clan tartans” date no earlier than late 18th century.

    That means this tradition was not in use when the battle of Culloden took place in 1746!.  The clansmen were wearing different tartans….

    So how did the clansmen recognize who was who? By the colour of ribbon worn upon the bonnet !

    Read more… | Watch video…

    Monsieur Mackintosh

    Monsieur Mackintosh Robin Crichton Luath Press Limited Edinburgh 2006 Bilingual edition

    3.  Charles Rennie Mackintosh Trail In Roussillon, France

    Here, under the sunny skies of one of the nicest regions of France, in a last and tearing adieu to the beloved companion with whom she had shared a lifelong passion for art, Margaret MacDonald dispersed the ashes of Charles Rennie Mackintosh … here both artists had probably shared some of their happiest days, five years only but which were full of life and creativity.

    Strangely enough, Mackintosh’s very nice watercolours which are the fruit of this period of happiness and which testify to his talent as a painter did not always get the recognition they deserved, his architectural and design masterpieces being better known than his paintings.

    But things are changing…

    Read more…

    Sherlock Holmes - Playing The Violin

    Sherlock Holmes – Playing The Violin

    4. From Conan Doyle’s Sycamore to Sherlock Holme’s Violin

    If you question people about Conan Doyle’s nationality many will probably answer : ‘English’. But let’s try to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s.

    If Conan Doyle did spend most of his life, died and was buried in England, he was born, spent his childhood and studied medicine in Edinburgh.

    That is why, on 22 may 2009, the day of his one hundred and fiftieth birth anniversary, he was paid a very moving tribute in Edinburgh, his native town.

    Read more…

    Peacock Princes Square Glasgow Scotland

    Art Nouveau in architecture – Princes Square Peacock

    5.  Art Nouveau Peacock On Princes Square Shopping Center In Buchanan Street, Glasgow

    At the end of the nineteenth century, Art Nouveau transformed towns and countryside around the world.  Even though its style had gained popularity from just the last ten years or so, Art Nouveau permeated many arts & crafts: jewellery, book design, glasswork, textiles, wrought iron, and architecture, to name just a few, with its high Victorian design and craftwork.

    The peacock being the most spread Art Nouveau pattern, a great example is the one adorning the Princes Square building facade on Buchanan Street in the heart of Glasgow.

    In 1985, Hugh Martin & Partners were commissioned to renovate the Princes Square building. They had several meetings with Alan Dawson to create the Princes’ building decorative art program consisting of gates, balustrades, the famous “Peacock” and other associated decorative ironwork.

    Read more… | Watch Video…

    The Willow Tea Room

    The Willow Tea Rooms Flickr ©unresttwothree

    6. Teatime At Miss Cranston’s Willow Tearooms In Glasgow

    Quite astonishing the modern look of this tearoom! It has been renovated in its original “Modern’ Style” which, as the name doesn’t indicate, dates back to the end of the 19th century.

    What we have here is a marvellous example of what we call in France “Art Nouveau” . It’s simply beautiful. No wonder! It is the result of a unique collaboration between two very talented persons : Kate Cranston and Charles Rennie Mackintosh…

    On entering the Willow Tearooms, though they have been renovated a number of times since their first opening, in 1903, we immediately feel the peculiar atmosphere Charles Rennie Mackintosh had wanted to create for Kate Cranston. Clear and sober lines – nice colours – beautiful geometrical and floral motifs – a feminine touch – what a feast !

    Read more…


    The Glasgow School of Art - Scotland

    The Glasgow School of Art – Scotland © 2007 Scotiana

    7.  Glasgow School Of Art An Architectural Expression Of Charles Rennie-Mackintosh Symbolic Art

    While studying at the School of Art, Mackintosh met sisters, Frances and Margaret MacDonald and they were to form a group along with Herbert MacNair, to become known internationally as the Glasgow Four.

    On our trip to Scotland in 2007, it was with great excitement that we arrived on Sauchiehall Street, to visit and admire one of his greatest masterpiece!  We took pictures of the elements composing the building’s facade, and upon examination of these mysterious, or should I say, mystical elements, I wondered about the meaning that Charles Rennie Mackintosh, his wife Margaret, and the group all together were trying to convey through the symbols of the tree, the rose and the flower heads, to name just these few.

    Read more… |  Watch Video

    rt Nouveau Roses Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

    Art Nouveau Window Art Nouveau Roses Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum © mike.thomson75’s on Flickr

    8.  Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Modern Style Makes Glasgow Flourish

    Our guided visit of the School of Art by a student of the school proved to be extremely interesting, especially that of the library.

    It’s no longer a secret, on Scotiana, that we are very fond of libraries.  How we would have liked to be forgotten there…

    So, if you intend to visit Glasgow don’t forget to put Mackintosh on your agenda. There is really something magical in his art!

    There are many places designed by or devoted to Mackintosh in Glasgow, so you will need to plan your Mackintosh trail very carefully. We didn’t and we lost precious time.

    Read more…  | Watch Video

    The Lore of Scotland - Jennifer Westwood & Sophia Kingshill - 2009

    The Lore of Scotland – Jennifer Westwood & Sophia Kingshill – 2009

    9. The Lore of Scotland Fairy Tales Myths And Legends

    Hey Janice, did I tell you I had received The Lore of Scotland, by Jennifer Westwood and Sophia Kingshill?

    When I was a little girl, I used to come back from our local library, a very old building situated in a picturesque cobbled street near the big and dark cathedral, carrying in my arms a treasury of books which had been carefully chosen, one after the other and in very different genres.

    Rules have changed since that time for then you could not borrow many books at the same time and the choice always proved to be a dilemma.

    Read more…

    Glencoe Estate - Lochan Loch - Donald Alexander Smith - Lord Strathcona - Scotland

    Glencoe Lochan

    10.  Lord Strathcona’s Glencoe Estate Bought Back By Macdonalds of Glencoe Descendance

    Donald Alexander Smith had always been interested in Scotland’s most popular glen, Glencoe, that was owned by the McDonalds of Glencoe until 1894, when Archibald Burns McDonald put the land up for sale.

    Upon taking possession of the Glencoe Estate in 1895, he moved from Canada to Scotland with his wife Isabella Sophia Hardisty and built a very imposing house, the Glencoe House.

    Even though he planted a Canadian-like  tree forest on the Estate to resemble his wife’s native land’s environment, she could not overcome home sickness. They consequently moved back to Canada and a portion of the land was transformed into a beautiful park offering three different walking trails, known as the Glencoe Lochan Walks.

    Read more…

    Edmund Sullivan Illustrator  Sartor Resartus Thomas Carlyle11.  Edmund J Sullivan Illustrator of Thomas Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus

    Edmund J Sullivan, the man behind the beautiful illustrations contained in Thomas Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus.

    Born in London in 1869, he studied art with his father. He was only 20 years old when he began contributing to various magazines including the Daily Chronicle, The Daily Graphic, The Pall Mall Gazette and Punch magazine.

    To give you an example of his unique style, take a look at this superb drawing to illustrate one of the characters of the book, Blumine. (page 169, of the 1898 George Bell and Sons edition of Sartor Resartus, see book cover at the end of the post)

    Read more… (includes links to 79 illustrations!)

    Glasgow shopping

    Multicoloured Glasgow © 2007 Scotiana

    12.  Buchanan Street: Up and Down One of Glasgow’s Most Popular and Coloured Streets

    We never stayed long enough, alas, to be able to visit all the treasures hidden in the rich and fascinating Scottish metropolis but it did not take long for us to feel the sense of place there and to love it. Glasgow speaks with a very specific accent which mixes with many other ones due to its cosmopolitanism.  A harsh accent, not easy to understand for foreigners

    I never saw a town singing in the rain as Glasgow does with its coloured umbrellas. “Can I help you ?” will say the Glaswegian to the drenched visitor desperately looking for his way on a map. For that and for many other reasons too, we do love Glasgow and it was love at first sight when we got out of the plane, at Paisley, one wintry day, in may 2000.

    Read more… | Watch Video…

    Jane Haining

    Jane Haining

    13.  Jane Haining, Auschwitz’s Scottish Christian Martyr

    (…) Jane declined to return to Scotland when war broke out in 1939; later, it was reported that she’d cut up her suitcases, using the leather to repair the girls’ shoes. Abandoning the children was never in her mind.
    ‘If they need me in days of sunshine,’ she wrote in one letter home, ‘how much more do they need me in days of darkness?’

    The Scottish missionary must have felt in particular danger – if, indeed, she thought of herself at all – after the Nazis invaded Hungary in March 1944. Very soon she was under arrest. The incident that prompted her seizure by the Gestapo seemed trivial enough in itself – she’d challenged a young man, Schreder by name, who’d been helping in the kitchen, accusing him of stealing from the girls’ meagre supply of food. But this fellow was an ardent Nazi, a member of the Hungarian Nazi Party, and he denounced her. From the ‘Gestapo Villas’ in the Buda Hills, Jane was taken to the ‘Fo utca Prison’ (Fo Street Prison) in Budapest, then to the dreaded Auschwitz camp.

    Read more…

    Painting by Sir Francis Grant of "Sir Walter Scott

    Painting by Sir Francis Grant of “Sir Walter Scott in his study at Abbotsford writing his last novel ‘Count Robert of Paris’ “, 1831. Source : SCRAN

    14. A Writing Day For Walter Scott In Company of His Favourite Dogs

    (…) to help us trigger our imagination, let us open again A Day with Scott. In this little old book I had mentioned in my last post,  May Byron seems to have catched the sense of the place particularly well. I still don’t know when this book was published, but I will check that soon in our Sir Walter Scott Bibliographical History. For biographical purposes we’ll also make some incursions in Lockhart’s Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Bart.  The author of this very interesting biography happens to be Sir Walter’s son-in-law, so he must know better.

    (…) I’ve often wondered how a man like Sir Walter Scott can have posed for so many long hours with his dogs, keeping still and quiet …But I let the master speak for himself and for the dogs.  In his Journal, on 7 saturday 1826, Sir Walter has written something full of humour and tenderness about the question…

    Read more…

    Kenneth McKellar - The Songs Of Robert Burns15.  Scotland’s Voice of The Century is Stilled

    I’d like to write a word or two today about the world-famous Scottish tenor, Mr Kenneth McKellar, who sadly died last week in the USA at the age of 82. Following a short but serious illness, Mr McKellar passed away at the home of his daughter, Jane, in Lake Tahoe, California, on 9th April. Scotland has lost a most worthy and distinguished ambassador.

    I find it tremendously sad when a great singer leaves the stage; it’s as though a bright light has gone out.

    I’m reminded of the words of John McCormack, quoted by his wife Lily in her memoir, ‘I Hear You Calling Me’ : “I live again the days and evenings of my long career. I dream at night of operas and concerts in which I have had my share of success. Now, like the old Irish Minstrels, I have hung up my harp because my songs are all sung.”

    Read more… | Watch Video 1 / 2 / 3 / and 4/…

    A special mention and great thanks to our dear Scottish friends, Iain & Margaret, who provided such great and moving Scottish stories in “Letters from Scotland” .

    We wish to thank everyone who visits and reads, on the site or via email or RSS feed. Your feedback/comments on the blog are very much appreciated and we love to hear from you.

    I’d also like to call your attention to Mairiunas’s series-of-posts (7) featuring our travel on the “Blue Road” through the Province of Quebec, inspired by Kenneth White’s novel: The Blue Road

    Following the Blue Road on the Steps of Kenneth White in Quebec =>

    Episode 1 | Episode 2 |  Episode 3 |  Episode 4 |  Episode 5 | Episode  6 |  Episode 7  (coming soon)

    As soon as Mairiuna recuperates her voice, 😉 we will continue the ongoing audio recording of Walter Scott’s most popular novel: Rob Roy

    We’re looking forward to an even more active 2011. Stay tuned for more reporting on our favourite Scottish authors and themes.  We’ve already introduced a few of them on Scotiana but there is so much more to read and share with you.

    Of course, we’ll go on with our reading of Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson, Iain Rankin, Thomas Carlyle, Kenneth White but we also intend to introduce many other Scottish writers (Neil Gunn, Iain Crichton Smith, George Mackay Brown, Margaret Oliphant, George Douglas Brown, Lewis Grassic Gibbon…)

    We are also eager to introduce on Scotiana some of our favourite subjects in the historical and archaelogical fields (The Pictish Stones – The massacre of Glencoe…) and, while preparing our next trip to Scotland, we will share with you many more photos of our previous Scottish travels. There is so much to say about the Scottish landscapes, cities and towns, the old abbeys and castles…  and what about Scottish lifestyle : whisky and food…  and delicious recipes : scones, pancakes, soups!

    If there is a subject you would like us to tackle, do not hesitate to contact us and share your thoughts.

    Have a wonderful 2011!


    Mairiuna and Janice

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