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The impact of the changes in attitudes towards, and interest in, the Highlands that took place during the reign of Queen Victoria cannot be underestimated. The growth of the rail network in Scotland, the wealth pouring into the country from the colonial empire and the importance of its cities as centres of concentrated military, industrial and intellectual excellence and power, saw its perception in the eyes of the world altered significantly.

The Highlands during this time became a fashionable place to visit for the old and new wealthy, partly due to Victoria?s fondness for Balmoral, partly due to the romanticisation of the region through the novels first of Walter Scott, then Robert Louis Stevenson and others.

A significant proportion of the West Highland Museum?s collection dates from the late eighteenth to early twentieth century, much of which belong specifically to the Victorian period. Click a picture for some examples.

Natural beauty

The dress and shawl pictured here were sewn from Muslin and decorated with green beetle wing cases. It was made in Madras for a Barbara Morrison, a Skye crofter?s daughter. She married a soldier who was posted to India during the early days of the British Raj.

Barbara had the dress and shawl made in Madras for a social gathering of military personnel and their families.

Beetle wing dress

Muslin is a loosely-woven cotton fabric which breathes well and is particularly suitable for wearing in very hot, dry climates.