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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.

Token of Her Esteem

John Brown was Queen Victoria's personal servant at Balmoral, the estate in Aberdeenshire which she and Prince Albert bought and loved.

The brooch pictured belonged to John Brown, and is part of a set of Highland dress accessories given to him by Victoria on the date of the marriage of her fourth daughter, Princess Louise. The Museum holds the complete set, including Brown's belt, sword, Sgian Dubh (small kilt knife), and powder horn.

"Each piece is inscribed 'V.R. to J.B. 21st March 1871."

John Brown's brooch

Brown once saved Victoria?s life by stopping a runaway pony and cart.

The tartan under the framed photograph of Queen Victoria in this picture is a piece of Balmoral tartan designed by Prince Albert.