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Loch Katrine 36

Loch Katrine 36

Photographer: Ogle, Thomas

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1863

Shelfmark: 1347.f.19

Item number: 36

Length: 19

Width: 14.5

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

This photograph of Loch Katrine in Scotland illustrates a passage from an 1863 edition of Sir Walter Scott’s long narrative poem ‘The Lady of the Lake’. The loch is the home of the beautiful Ellen Douglas and her father, the outlawed Scottish clan chief James Douglas, Earl of Bothwell. James Fitz-James, a Saxon knight, has strayed to its shores after becoming lost in the forest while hunting. A song of farewell sung by the grey-haired minstrel Allan-bane accompanies the knight's journey homeward across the lake. The words of the song say that men forget as quickly as water falls from the boatman’s oars into the lake, and ask the huntsman stranger to forget the isle, unless to comfort homesick wandering Highlanders in the south:

“But if beneath yon southern sky
A plaided stranger roam,
Whose drooping crest and stifled sigh,
And sunken cheek and heavy eye,
Pine for his Highland home;
Then, warrior, then be thine to show
The care that soothes a wanderer’s woe;
Remember then thy harp erewhile,
A stranger in the lonely isle.”

Scott (1771-1832) was the author of immensely popular historical novels and poetry. Their combination of history, chivalry and romance was especially beloved by readers of the Victorian era. ‘The Lady of the Lake’ (1810) was the third of his epic narrative poems inspired by the landscape and legends of Scotland, and is set in and around the beautiful mountains, glens, lakes and forests of Perthshire and Stirling in central Scotland. The great success of the poem made Loch Katrine and the Trossachs a fashionable destination for 19th-century sightseers.

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