George IV’s Highland Dress Accoutrements

George IV visited Scotland in 1822 and it’s a hugely significant moment. It was particularly
significant to the Scots because no reigning monarch
had visited Scotland since the time of Charles II. The person most responsible for the planning of George IV’s visit was the Scottish author, Sir Walter Scott. Scott was very keen to present
Scotland as a unified country and encouraged all the Highland chiefs to come down to Edinburgh for the occasion, bring their clansmen, and wear their traditional tartan outfits. The accoutrements were ordered as part of George IV’s Highland dress outfit. They were all ordered
from George Hunter’s, the makers on Princes Street, who specialised in Highland dress. And the pieces that survive
from George IV’s outfit include two belts, these
have a jewelled clasp decorated with the figure of St. Andrew, who was the patron saint of Scotland. We can also see his sword, a long sword, it’s a basket-hilt sword. We have George IV’s dirk. And if you withdraw the
blade from the scabbard, you’ll see that the blade is engraved with George IV’s coat of
arms, St. Andrew’s cross, and thistles and roses. The scabbard also contains
a knife and a fork. These accoutrements are
particularly elaborate and richly decorated, because
they were made for the king. They are covered with jewels. You can see this huge aquamarine
on the hilt of the dirk. They would have sparkled and twinkled in the evening candlelight as George IV entered his
reception at Holyroodhouse.

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