Body snatcher William Burke’s Cap and Skin

Last week, Stirling Ghost Walk man David Kinnaird introduced Hallowe’en visitors to the more gruesome aspects of the Stirling Smith’s collection.   These include the deerskin and leather cap worn by the notorious body snatcher and murderer William Burke (1792 – 1829), who with his accomplice Hare committed at least

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Sailor’s Valentine, Black History Month

This is a very good example of a sailor’s valentine of the 1850s in the Stirling Smith collections. It is currently one of the objects highlighted for Black History Month. Sailor’s valentines were made from tiny sea shells arranged in interesting patterns and encased in octagonal glazed boxes. Tradition has

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Annie Croall, Founder of the Stirling’s Children’s Home

Founder of the Stirling’s Children’s Home, Annie Knight Croall (1854-1927) is one of the unsung heroines of Scottish history.  She was the daughter of the first curator of the Smith Institute, and came from Leeds to Stirling at the age of 19.  A deeply spiritual person, her work for neglected

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Chains and Slavery – The Craigengelt Slave Window

This window in the church of the Holy Rude is dedicated to the memory of Provost John Dick of Craigengelt (died 12 April 1865) and is most unusual in having a black man in chains before Christ.  The subject is ‘Come unto me all ye that labour.’ (Matthew 11, 28)

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Ship’s Compass, 1764

  Stirling was an important port until the 20th century. For that reason, many seafaring men retired here and some left their working tools to the Stirling Smith like this beautiful compass used by Captain James Forrest. The compass is of French manufacture and is dated 1764. Forrest lived in

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The Hay Harvest by M. Fleming Struthers

 Struthers was a prolific artist, who exhibited regularly in the Smith and in other local exhibitions.  Very little is known about him, and this is currently the only work of his in a public collection.  The painting celebrates the glory of a Stirling hay harvest and the construction of hay

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Flodden and the Ring and Sword of King James IV

500 years ago on 9 September 1513, the Scottish army was defeated at Flodden.  King James IV, and an estimated 10,000 men – including two bishops, two abbots, twelve earls, thirteen lords, five eldest sons of lords, and about 300 of Scotland’s most influential men – were killed.  For generations,

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Beer Porters by Frank Brangwyn (1867 – 1956)

This scene may be familiar to older readers of the Observer in more ways than one. Stirling was at one time a brewing centre, and workplace scenes such as this must have been common in breweries like St. Ninian’s Well, Burdens and Duncan’s. The image was sketched as part of

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Alexander Bonar of Ratho (1750 – 1820), Sir Henry Raeburn

Earlier this year, the Stirling Smith received an important bequest of a Raeburn portrait from the late Bruce Ritchie of Allan Park. Sir Henry Raeburn was the foremost Scottish portrait painter of his time, and this is the first Raeburn portrait to come into the Smith collections. The subject of

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Agnes Smith Greig, George Harvey and Sir Daniel McNee

  For the next few weeks, portraits of Stirling people from the Stirling Smith collections are on show in the Smith.  This is the engagement portrait of Agnes, daughter of the Reverend Christopher Greig of St Ninians Parish Church.  Aged 28, she married the advocate Alexander Stuart Logan. The painting

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