Parliament welcomes Rebels with a Cause


The Parliament announced today it will showcase a major new exhibition titled ‘Rebels with a Cause: The Jacobites and the Global Imagination’.

The fascinating exhibition explores and challenges traditional assumptions about the Jacobites and highlights the worldwide aspects of the Jacobite story. It reveals how after their defeat, some fled to the exiled courts of Paris and Rome, while many others drew upon a network of kin and patronage to seek new opportunities in Baltic Europe, North America and India.

This free exhibition has been curated in partnership between the Scottish Parliament and the University of Aberdeen and draws upon rarely seen and internationally significant material from the University’s collection.

The exhibition also delves into the lives of figures such as Flora MacDonald and Hugh Mercer and highlights the enduring impact of the Jacobites on Scottish history, literature, culture, art and music.

Amongst the artefacts Included in the exhibition are:

  • rare engravings, portraits and letters
  • a Jacobite recruitment slip and songbook
  • a letter written by Bonnie Prince Charlie while in exile
  • a first edition of Sir Walter Scott’s novel Waverley
  • a collection of 20th century Rob Roy comics
  • an ostrich egg carved with secret Jacobite symbols made in memory of the death of James VIII and III.

Rebels with a Cause runs from Wednesday 27 October to Saturday 8 January 2011.

Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP said: “I am delighted the Scottish Parliament has this opportunity to work with the University of Aberdeen in developing and showcasing this prestigious exhibition, which features some fascinating and rarely seen artefacts of great importance.”

“I hope that people will come and visit this exhibition to learn more about the Jacobites and the hugely significant role they played in Scots history.”

The exhibition will also go on display at the University of Aberdeen’s new library which opens next September.

Principal and Vice-Chancellor of University of Aberdeen, Professor Ian Diamond, said: “Aberdeen is the first university to partner with the Parliament in this way since devolution. We are thrilled that policy makers and audiences from around the world will be able to experience some of the richness of our fine collections in the impressive setting of Scotland’s parliament.”  


Rebels with a Cause at The Scottish Parliament
Public talks and associated events

A series of free talks by scholars from the University of Aberdeen on various aspects of the exhibition will take place at the Scottish Parliament during October and November:

  • Rebels with a Cause introductory tours and talks on Wednesday 30 October, Wednesday 17 and Saturday 27 November.
  • The Sobieksi-Stuart Marriage and the Jacobite World on Wednesday 10 November discusses the legacies of the marriage between Polish princess Maria Clementina Sobieski and James Frances Edward Stuart, the Old Pretender.
  • Imaginary Architectures of the Jacobites and their Opponents is an illustrated talk on extraordinary architectural projects drawn by Jacobites in continental exile on Wednesday 17 November.
  • What does Walter Scott mean to Scotland? on Wednesday 8 December is hosted by journalist Magnus Linklater who will chair a panel of experts as they discuss Scott’s legacy.
  • St Andrew’s Night Debate: "Who were the winners and losers of the Jacobite cause?", on Tuesday 30 November. Hosted by journalist Joan McAlpine and scholars from the University of Aberdeen: Alison Lumsden, Cairns Craig, Andrew Mackillop and John Morrison.

St Andrew’s Family Weekend
There will be a programme of Jacobite-themed events for families over the St Andrew’s weekend and the start of the Winter Festival. Visitors and families will have the opportunity to participate in a number of free events and activities whilst learning more about the Scottish Parliament from Friday 26 to Monday 29 November. These events and activities include quizzes, tours, storytelling sessions, dressing-up, themed-food decoration, workshops and interactive games.

A teachers’ Continuing Professional Development (CPD) day on the Rebels with a Cause exhibition, will be held on Wednesday 3 November at the parliament. The day will be jointly led by staff from the Parliament’s Education Team and the University of Aberdeen. The day will also include a curatorial tour of the exhibition, a discussion with MSPs on the significance of the Jacobites to the history of Scotland, and a tour of the Holyrood building (as well as lunch).

Images from the exhibition are available on request.

You can now get in touch with the Parliament by text message. Our interactive service enables you to get the name of your MSP by sending your postcode, lets you ask questions about the Parliament and its work, and enables you to request a selection of free leaflets. The number to take advantage of is 07786 209888. Texts are charged at standard network rates. More details can be found on our Text Service page.

This website is using cookies.
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we’ll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website.