Through paintings and drawings, of country life or ball room assemblies, artists' renderings prove entertaining and simultaneously provide an ethnographic history of dance forms and techniques.
Doll of Scotland
Dolls of Many Lands vintage postcard, 1939 -
The Afghan War: Tullochgorum Reel in the Camp of the 72nd Highlanders at Kohat. From a sketch by Lieutenant Martin, R.E. The London Illustrated News, 1879, Jan. 18
Artist "Fred ..." - date unknown
1912 Advertisement card
Impromptu Sword Dance
The King and Queen in the Highlands, King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra at Mar Lodge, an Impromptu Sword-Dance by the Duff Highlanders after Luncheon. Illustration for The Illustrated London News, 19 October 1901, artist Allan Stewart
The Sword Dance
Argyll Sword Dance
The Sword Dance
Scotsmen Dance a Reel, 18th century
Victorian illustration to download showing a picture of Scotsmen dancing a Scottish reel energetically to the music of the bagpipes, 18th century. One man wears breeches, the others tartan kilts. One man dances in bare feet.
Vintage French trading card
John Telfer Dunbar
"Reeling" from an original watercolour by Charles Williams, c. 1815, MacDonald tartan
Illustrated London News
Sword Dance of Boys of the Royal Caledonian Asylum, at Westbrook Park, Godalming. Illustration for The Illustrated London News, 8 October 1881.
Australian Women's Weekly
"Highland Fling" July 12, 1941 cover, art by Petrov
Published by the British Travel and Holidays Association and printed in Great Britain by Charles & Read Ltd., 1950s
The Graphic, January 11, 1919 Ad for Smith's Glasgow Tobacco
The Graphic Illustrated Newspaper
Scottish Games at Lillie Bridge, July 31, 1880, London
Broad-sword dance - Taymouth Castle. Print from a woodcut, 1842, from the Illustrated London News
Unidentified artist - Ireland: Dance Publisher: Chicago : The Regan Printing House, 1910
Man in Highland Dress and a Lady Dan
Man in Highland Dress and a Lady Dancing John Francis Campbell (1821-1885), pencil and watercolor
Gibson Art Company, 1917
Isaac Israëls (1865-1934) was a Dutch painter associated with the Amsterdam Impressionism movement and the son The son of Jozef Israëls, one of the most respected painters of the Hague School.
This recruiting poster for the Scottish Regiments dates from 1919. The poster reads 'Recruits Wanted for the Scottish Regiments, This is the Life for a Scotsman'.
1951, Pan American Airlines
1951 travel poster from Pan Am Airlines, promoting tourism to Glasgow, Scotland - "Glasgow by Clipper - The World's Most Experienced Airline"
Sword Dance, Scotland
SAS calendar of 1966 with the theme "Dances of the world" by the famous Danish artist Otto Nielsen.
Liebig Company's Fleisch Extract
Schottland, Dudelsack - Advertisement for starch
National Dance of the Highland
National Dance of the Highland Clansmen. Illustration from The Imperial History of England (Ward Lock, 1891)
The Sword Dance
From a 1903 advertising booklet for Colman's Laundry Starch and Azure Blue
Illustrated London News
The Highland Ball at Willis's Rooms 1883, Illustrated London News
Liebig Tradecard S620 - National Dances, Scotland
The Great Highland Bagpipe
The Great Highland Bagpipe Competition at the Theatre Royal in Edinburgh (1844)
These Beautiful Scraps
Two highlanders, one playing bagpipes, one dancing circa 1880. Produced by Michael Henry Nathan & Co (flourished 1878-1900)
The Sword Dance
The Sword Dance by David Cunliffe, 1853. The 93rd Regt (Sutherland Highlanders) are wearing a range of tartans. The dancer, Bandsman MacKenzie, is wearing the Band tartan.
From an 1895 publication, "Dancing" later republished as "The History of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales" by Lilly Grove Frazer - from an engraving by J. H. Ramburg, 1800, entitled "Scottish Reel."
From an 1895 publication, "Dancing" later republished as "The History of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales" by Lilly Grove Frazer - from an etching by D. Deuchar, 1784, entitled "Scottish Reel."
Highland Reel Cigar Box
HIGHLAND REEL Trimmed nailed wood box, marked "Factory 23 IRD 26 Series of 1897," Unknown maker, Toronto, Ontario
An O. P. ra Ball
An O.P.ra ball, finishing with a scotch reel, to the tune of catch him & keep him! April 16, 1823 etching
The Shamit Reel
Plate 5 from 'The Penny Wedding' by John Grant, engraved by Joshua Gleadah, 1836 (engraving), Grant, John (fl.1836-46) (after) / Private Collection / The Bridgeman Art Library
The Book of the Club of True Highlanders, published in 1881, had dancing as its centerpiece when assembling the key elements of ‘Highland culture’.
Beecham's Pills Advertisement, 1888
Vintage postcard, date unknown
MacDonald's Finest Tobacco Tin
Kilty Brand, vintage tin for tobacco
Florence Hardy (1860-1933), postcard
Currier and Ives print, 1846
After a follower of David Allan, 19th century.
1890 Sheet Music for Piano
Viaggio Alla Scozia
Edwin (1903-95) / Private Collection / © Look and Learn / The Bridgeman Art Library
The Sword Dance
The Sword Dance; The Dancing Lesson James Cassie (1819-1879)
A Piper and His Lassie
"A Piper and His Lassie" by Sir William Allan (1782-1850).
The Witches Dance
'Tam o' Shanter': Witches Dancing in Alloway Auld Kirk Joseph Bartholomew Kidd (1808–1889)
By illustrator Georges d'Ostoya, this cartoon appeared in the 1901 issue (No. 357) of Le Rire ("Laughter"), a successful French satirical magazine published from October 1894 through the 1950s. Shown here is a Scottish hornpipe.
A Scotch Reel
Two couples dancing a reel. The ladies wear the monstrous feathered coiffures then fashionable Notes: Forms part of: British Cartoon Prints Collection (Library of Congress).; No. 5.; This record contains unverified data from George. Date 1776 Author British Cartoon Prints Collection
The Thistle Reel
American political cartoon 1775 Bute, Mansfield, and North dance around the vision of a huge thistle while the devil plays the bagpipes in the clouds above. The government's policy toward America is attacked as inspired by Scottish influence, a favorite theme in America, too.
"Ta reel o' Tullochgorum"
mage taken from page 136 of 'Legal and other Lyrics ... A new edition, with ... notes and a glossary. Edited by J. H. Stoddard ... and illustrated by W. Ralston and A. S. Boyd', 1887.
Highland Dancers & Pipers
"Highland Dancers and Pipers" June 1, 844, London Illustrated News
Sword dance, provenance unknown
The Sword Dance
Original 1930's poster print taken from an original illustration by artist C. N. Dilly. This original poster print was produced in England in the 1930's as a teaching aid for use in classrooms at infant (primary) schools. This is print number 74 and is entitled at the bottom 'The Sword Dance'. There is a great Scottish castle in the background and someone tossing the caber. The crowd are all dressed in 1930's fashion.
The Highland Games
The Highland Games. Artwork by Christopher Clark, 1930s. By the time this poster was issued in the late 1930s LMS was working more closely with the old rival LNER. This poster presents, perhaps a clichéd image of Scotland with Highland dancers and a piper against a mountainous backdrop. Image © NRM Pictorial Collection / Science & Society Picture Library.
William Simpson (1823-99), The Ballroom, Balmoral Castle, dated 1882. Pencil, watercolour and bodycolour, 35.0 x 56.6 cm. RCIN 919532. Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015 33w
"The Gillie Ball"
The Court in the Highlands, 1880, "The Gillie Ball"
A Scottish Ball
1878, provenance unknown
The Scotch Reel
Part of a series of postcards by illustrator Florence Hardy, circa 1900.
Highland Fling, watercolor by John Durang from his Memoir. John Durang (6 January 1768 – 31 March 1822) was the first native-born American to become known as a dancer. Said to be George Washington's favorite performer, he was famous for dancing the hornpipe, a lively, jiglike solo exhibition so called because it was originally performed to music played on a woodwind instrument known as a hornpipe.
Highland Dancer by unknown artist Oil on canvas, 45.5 x 32 cm Collection: Highland Council Inverness Museum and Art Gallery (High Life Highland)
Unknown Artist, Highland Folk Museum, oil on canvas
Companion to the Ballroom
Frontispiece J. Shury engraving from "A Companion to the Ballroom," 1816, Wilson with a longer title of A Companion to the Ball Room, containing a choice collection of the most Original and Admired Country Dances, Reels, Hornpipes, Waltzes, and Quadrills, &c &c with appropriate Figures to Each. The Etiquette and a Dissertation on the State of the Ball Room
The Highland Fling, 1912
Troy Kinney (December 1, 1871 – January 29, 1938) was an American artist, etcher, and author. Troy Kinney was most notable for his works portraying dance performers, fanciful subjects, and classically styled nudes. He worked with dancers, including Ruth St. Denis, Anna Pavlova, and Sophie Pflanz among others. His artistic works are part of the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress, and many others.
Sword Dance, 1880
Queen Victoria watching a Highland sword dance, Scotland, 1880. Artist: Unknown
Scotch Scene, date unknown
Arthur Boyd Houghton 1836–1875, Scotch Scene, for engraving, Ink and gouache on woodblock. Acquired by the Tate Museum in 1925, Presented by Mrs E.C. Davis.
Highland Games in Geelong, 1857
An extract from the Illustrated London News in 1857, which reported on the Highland Games in Geelong, Australia, organised by the Highland Society Comunn na Feinne. Dancing was a central activity at the games, both for display and competition.
The Blind Bagpiper
The Prince of Wales (1881)
The Prince of Wales at Braemar, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Albany dancing a Reel at the Highland Ball given by the Earl of Fife. Illustration for The Graphic, 8 October 1881.
Caledonian Ball (1878)
"Caledonian Ball Dancing Reel O' Tulloch," July 13, 1878 engraving from the illustrated newspaper, The Graphic
Highland Dancers (1844)
Highland Dancing (1872)
"Highland Dancing at the Crystal Palace," Line Engraving, London, England
Reel of Tulloch (1849)
Antique Print of 1849 Scottish Fete Lord Holland's Park Reel Tulloch Sword Dance Foot Race 1849 Scottish Fete Lord Holland's Park Reel Tulloch Sword Dance Foot Race A Full page from the Illustrated London News.
"Robin Adair" (1909)
Clarence F. Underwood (1871-1929) , Born in Jamestown, New York, Underwood studied in Paris but returned around 1901/02 to work illustrating postcards, books, and magazines, including the Saturday Evening Post. Many of his paintings were romantically influenced, showing courting scenes from over the fence line to stealing a kiss over a chessboard.
A Dancing Lesson
Collins, Hugh c.1868-1892. "A Dancing Lesson". Oil on canvas, 51 x 76cm. No date. London, Sotheby's. Lot 854, 30/08/94.Collins lived and worked in Edinburgh and was a specialist in painting people. He became a well known portrait painter and received a number of commissions to paint prominent Scottish people.
A Dancing Lesson
La Belle Assemblee or Sketches of Characteristic Dancing by George Cruikshank (1817). Features the dancing master, country dance, Scots reel, Irish jig, La minuet, German waltz, French quadrille, Spanish boliero, and ballet Italienne.
Prince of Wales (1876)
The Prince of Wales at Malta, Dancing the Reel at the United Service Ball. Illustration for The Graphic, 29 April 1876.
Five Positions of Dancing
The five "Positions of Dancing" from Thomas Wilson's Analysis of Country Dancing (1811) – An analysis of country dancing, wherein all the figures used in that polite amusement are rendered familiar by engraved lines. Containing also, directions for composing almost any number of figures to one tune, with some entire new reels; together with the complete etiquette of the ball-room. By T. Wilson ... Illustrated with engravings on wood by J. Berryman.
The Dance of the Shearers (1885)
Shearers on Otakapo Station in Rangitīkei enjoy some Highland dancing, accompanied by artist Charlie Hammond on the harp and Bob Craig on the violin. A note below the drawing, says that ‘they had never heard such music on the station before’ and that two Scotsmen, Cameron and Gear, played the bagpipes for some of the dances. By 1885 in New Zealand’s towns and cities it was no longer usual for men to dance together. In the countryside, women remained scarce.
The Highland Fling (1867)
A Companion to the Ballroom
Frontispiece - J. Shury engraving from "A Companion to the Ballroom," 1816, Wilson
Engraving of a Theatrical Highland Dancer, 1846 - reference:
"The Highland Wedding"
"The Highland Wedding at Blair Atholl," David Allan, 1780.This was painted after Allan's return from Italy, and was the first of his many Scottish genre subjects. Neil Gow, the celebrated violin player, composer and collector of music, takes his place amongst the musicians; Gow's services were retained by the Duke of Atholl, for a fee of £5 a year. The tartan worn in this picture was done so illegally, for highland dress had been proscribed after the Jacobite rising of 1745.
A Highland Dance
David Allan, A Highland Dance Object type: drawing, Date 1780: Medium: Brush and watercolour over pencil on paper
Sir John Halkett of Pitfirrane
Sir John Halkett of Pitfirrane (1720–1793), 4th Baronet, Mary Hamilton, Lady Halkett and their Family, by David Allan, National Galleries of Scotland Date painted: 1781 Oil on canvas, 153 x 239.5 cm Collection: National Galleries of ScotlandHalkett and his second wife Mary are shown with his daughter by his first wife, and his thirteen younger children, whose names are provided by Allan.
Scottish Country Dance
From a picture used by ESSLLI 2005 Reception Buffet and Ceilidh Dance, titled "Nova Scotia Tattoo, Scottish Country Dance"
A Sword Dance
Collins, Hugh c.1868-1892. "A Sword Dance". Oil on canvas, 51 x 76cm. No date. London, Sotheby's. Lot 854, 30/08/94.Collins lived and worked in Edinburgh and was a specialist in painting people. He became a well known portrait painter and received a number of commissions to paint prominent Scottish people.
The Sword Dance
George Bernard O'Neill (1828-1917), The Sword Dance, Oil On Panel, Private Collection. George Bernard O'Neill was a prolific Irish genre painter, from 1859 a member of the Cranbrook Colony of artists.
The Gillies' Ball (c. 1859)
Egron Sellif Lundgren (1815-75) The royal party in the niche to left. A sword dance is being performed, possbly by 'Little Lord McDuff'. This Ball took place in 1859 at Balmoral Castle, Queen Victoria’s residence in Scotland. Gillies, or Ghillies, were men and boys who guided and assisted on hunting expeditions in the Highlands of Scotland. Queen Victoria and her family relied upon them on their visits to Scotland and she initiated the custom of hosting an annual ball to recognise them.