Iain Gale on exhibitions
Friday 03 May 1996
Compare them though with the weapons of the opposing army - the British Army of 1746. Lieutenant James Dalrymple of the Second Dragoons was furnished with a standard issue cavalry sword - a 38-inch steel blade topped with an unadorned, machine made brass hilt. His fellow officer, James (later General) Wolfe, favoured an even simpler weapon - close in its spare line to a modern bayonet. These were butchers' tools. What need for the soul- stirring decoration of the Jacobite sword when you were part of a well- drilled killing machine?
The contrast is not merely that between weapons, but cultures. What this exhibition teaches is that the victory of the government forces at Culloden was the victory of mass production over craftsmanship. It was the death of art.
Culloden Visitors' Centre, Culloden, Inverness, to 20 Sept
Left: detail of three basket hilted swords (from left:) - Marquis of Tullibardine, Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Earl of Cromarty
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