Last Chance to See: Flodden and The Blue Blanket…

This weekend I was in Edinburgh,  catching a few shows at the Festival and stumbling across interesting exhibitions in unexpected places… 

What caught my eye in particular was an exhibition entitled ‘Flodden and the Blue Blanket,’ hosted by the Convenery of Trades of Edinburgh.  With the 500th anniverary of the Battle of Flodden fast approaching, it seems an appropriate choice of subject matter, since this ancient institution has in its keeping a treasured artefact which has strong links with Flodden and James IV.  This is the ancient Trades Banner, more commonly known as the ‘Blue Blanket’.

Hanging in a modern display case which provides a sympathetic environment suitable for the object’s long-term survival, the ‘Blue Blanket’ in question is a mere stripling, dating back to the late 17th century.  But it faithfully reproduces a much older banner, thought to have its origins in the early 1480s, when it was presented to the city by King James III and Queen Margaret.

Legend has it that the banner was subsequently carried at Flodden by Edinburgh’s contingent of soldiers, and that following the disastrous Scots defeat, it was plucked from the battlefield and carried home by one of the few survivors of the Scots forces. 

Though centred upon the banner, the exhibition looks in depth at the events leading up to Flodden itself and to the impact this catastrophic event had for the City of Edinburgh in the years that followed.  It also examines the way in which Flodden has been immortalised in myth and literature, as well as art, with a prominent place being given to this dramatic painting by William Brassey Hole, which forms part of the City of Edinburgh collections:-



After Flodden

It’s a fascinating exhibition and well worth a visit.  But you’d better be quick, because it’ll be coming to an end next Saturday (31st August).  The venue is at the Trades Maiden Hospital, 61 Melville Street in Edinburgh.  Entry is free, with opening hours between 10am and 5pm.

For more details, check out the link below:-


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