A bonnie chair fit for a prince on view at Glencoe

The prince's chair after conservation work. NO F07 Stuart chair After Conservation

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A beautiful chair which once belonged to Bonnie Prince Charlie will be on display to the public at Glencoe Folk Museum this year after undergoing incredible restorative conservation.

The Stuart Chair, which dates from around 1660, was reputedly gifted to the MacDonalds of Glencoe by Princess Charlotte, the daughter of Prince Charles Edward Stuart, after his death.

It was presented to the Clan Donald Society of Edinburgh by the family of the Chiefs of Glencoe, and thereafter was donated to Glencoe Folk Museum.

The chair has been in storage for a number of years due to its fragile state, but a generous grant from the Association of Independent Museums’ Pilgrim Trust Conservation Scheme allowed the museum to have this essential work carried out.

The chair before conservation work was carried out. NO F07 Stuart Chair Before Conservation
The chair before conservation work was carried out.
NO F07 Stuart Chair Before Conservation

The conservation work was undertaken by Younger Conservation Ltd, whose impressive client list includes the National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

Fiona Watt, textile conservator,commented: ‘The conservation of the Bonnie Prince Charlie chair was a very rewarding job. At each stage of the treatment, improvement could be seen.

‘The appearance of the extremely damaged velvet has been transformed by the support stitching and the dyed support fabric, which tones in with the worn areas. We can’t wait to see the chair back on display.’

The museum has long had strong links with the MacDonalds of Glencoe. Mrs Jean MacDonald-Clarke – a direct descendant of the MacDonald Chief murdered during the massacre of 1692 – was very involved in the early days of the museum, and it was through her that a number of the museum’s more significant Jacobite items came into their collections.

Museum curator Catriona Davidson added: ‘It is exciting for us to have such a strong line of provenance for an item of this age.

‘It is one of our oldest and most significant items, and with interest in the Jacobites increasing thanks to the popularity of the Outlander books and TV series, we feel it is the perfect time to highlight Jacobite collections which remain in the Highlands.’

The museum’s Jacobite collection covers a period of more than 50 years, spanning from the massacre of the MacDonalds of Glencoe in 1692 to the fierce repression of Highland culture after the Jacobites’ famous last stand at the Battle of Culloden in 1746.

The Bonnie Prince Charlie Chair will take pride of place in this exhibition this year, alongside other fascinating Jacobite artefacts such as a bible which belonged to the MacDonald Chiefs, a white cockade dating to the 1745 uprising, and items belonging to Captain Robert Campbell, the man notorious for leading the Massacre of Glencoe.

The museum will re-open for the new season on Saturday, April 6.