Fri, 24th Nov 14:30 - 15:30

Coffee Tea and a PhD: Laura Harrison: "Big Men need Big Swords" - The image and impact of William Wallace’s longsword

City of Edinburgh Methodist Church, 25 Nicolson Square, Edinburgh EH8 9BX, UK

In 1814, the 11th Earl of Buchan unveiled a 6.6-meter statue of William Wallace on his
Dryburgh estate in the Scottish borders. The statue was accompanied by a sword that
was nearly as tall as the figure of Wallace himself. The image of Wallace with a
larger-than-life sword became the norm in the nineteenth century, and has continued
into the twenty-first century. This talk will ask how the longsword came to be seen as
the most accurate weapon to accompany Wallace, despite being historically inaccurate.
Various media in which the sword appears will be considered, including paintings,
monuments, stained glass, murals, and film. Ultimately, when commemorating the
Scottish historical past, is there a responsibility towards historical accuracy, or should
artistic license be permitted?


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