Mary, Queen of Scots

04 June 2019

Mary, Queen of Scots is the first in a new series of exhibitions uncovering rarely seen material from the Bute Collection, one of the foremost collections of art and artefacts in the UK. Held in the Purple Library at Mount Stuart House the intimate show will feature a diverse range of artefacts, artworks, manuscripts and books exploring the facts and fiction surrounding Scotland’s best known monarch.

Mary Stuart (1542-1587) is one of history’s most compelling and controversial characters and has been the subject of paintings, plays, books and films from the time of her execution in 1587 to the present day. At the centre of the exhibition is an original manuscript containing Sir Robert Wingfield of Upton’s captivating eye witness account of Mary’s execution in February, 1587. Outstanding amongst several surviving drafts the Bute owned manuscript is the most comprehensive description of Mary’s final hours. The graphic account – also available in transcription – is joined by rare contemporary 16th-century depictions of the Queen, amongst them a charming, hand-drawn illustration by an anonymous Scottish scribe showing the tall Queen towering over her diminutive French husband. Other items never before shown in public include: intriguing ‘relics’, objects said to have belonged to Mary; portraits of the Queen; a copy of the Proclamation of Guilt issued by Elizabeth I; and Marian literature ranging from the 16th to the 20th century in several European languages. The finishing touch is provided by the first ever ‘Hollywood’ film made about Mary – an 18-second long silent film, produced in America by Thomas Edison in 1895, which was the first ever to use special effects in order achieve the effect of the Queen’s decapitation

Visit the exhibition 2 May to 27 October, 2019 and follow the link below to book tickets!