Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Sir Walter Scott the antiquary: conference celebrating the bicentenary of the publication of The Antiquary

7th October 2016 @ 9:00 am - 8th October 2016 @ 5:00 pm

£30 - £120
Bust of Sir Walter Scott

Venue: Friday 7th October, Auditorium, NMS, Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1JF

Venue: Saturday 8th October, Abbotsford House, Abbotsford, Melrose, Roxburghshire TD6 9BQ

Join us in this unique event to uncover a different side to Sir Walter Scott, the antiquary and collector and the physical culture surrounding and inspiring him, to be held in collaboration with Abbotsford House. Expert talks and discussion will explore and assess Scott’s interests in Scotland’s past and will celebrate 200 years of The Antiquary.

Published in an edition of 6,000 copies on May 4, 1816 and even more successful than its predecessors, The Antiquary sold out within three weeks. It went through a further nine editions in Scott’s lifetime.  Scott was a Vice President of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and his interests in the material culture of Scotland and their contemporary research forms a core element of The Antiquary.

This conference will be split into two days, with talks on day 1 in the National Museums Scotland and then day 2 at Abbotsford to further our knowledge and take a closer look with expert guides on the material culture of Sir Walter Scott, including the chance to see material not normally on display.

You can even stay at Abbotsford, a limited number of luxury rooms may be available in Abbotsford’s Hope Scott Wing on a B&B basis at £150 per room per night, including a continental breakfast. These rooms are bookable not more than one month in advance. Please email Abbotsford house at enquiries@scottsabbotsford.co.uk or telephone 01896 752043 to enquire about availability and quote “Antiquary Conference”. This is a unique opportunity to experience for yourself the splendour of the surroundings that proved such an inspiration to Scott throughout his long and illustrious career.


Friday only £50 – Fellows of the Society and Friends and Patrons of Abbotsford
Friday only £60 – Non-Fellow ticket
Friday only £30 – Student concession (valid matriculation card must be shown)

Friday and Saturday £90 – Fellows of the Society and Friends and Patrons of Abbotsford
Friday and Saturday £120 – Non-Fellow ticket
Friday and Saturday £60 – Student concession (valid matriculation card must be shown)

Saturday evening conference meal at the Ochiltrees Abbotsford restaurant: £55 per person

Scroll down to book tickets now – please note that transport is not included


Friday 7th October 2016

Auditorium, NMS, Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1JF

0900-0925 Arrive and registration

0925-0930 Opening (Dr David Caldwell, President of Society of Antiquaries of Scotland)

0930-1000 Morning Chair and background – Walter Scott and the Scottish Antiquarian Tradition: Mr Oldbuck in Context (Dr Iain Gordon Brown, Hon. Fellow, National Library of Scotland; Curator of the Royal Society of Edinburgh)

1000-1030 Waverley lines: Scott the archaeologist, Scott the antiquary and his network of contacts (Trevor Cowie and Colin Wallace)

1030-1100 Inspiration: Hospitalfield as Monkbarns, the setting for The Antiquary (Laura Simpson, Hospitalfield)

1100-1130 Tea/Coffee

1130-1200 “I opened the box, thinking it might be the damask …” Walter Scott, Thomas Pringle and Abbotsford (Dr Malcolm Morrison, Abbotsford Guide)

1200-1230 Discussion

1230-1330 Lunch

1330-1335 Afternoon Chair (George Dalgleish, The Abbotsford Trust)

1335-1400 Sir Walter Scott and Heraldry at Abbotsford (Charles J Burnett Esq. Former Ross Herald of Arms, retired)

1400-1430 The Abbotsford Museum: Exhibiting Things in the Waverley Novels (Lucy Linforth, University of Edinburgh)

1430-1500 Tea/Coffee

1500-1530 Scott’s Magnum Opus: working with Abbotsford’s collections, indoors and out (Kirsty Archer-Thompson and Pippa Coles, The Abbotsford Trust)

1530-1600 Discussion

1600-1630 Sum-up (Professor Alison Lumsden, University of Aberdeen)

1630-1645 Close (James Holloway, Chair of The Abbotsford Trust)

1645-1830 Reception (with complimentary Antiquary whisky provided by Tomatin Distillery co. Ltd)


Saturday 8th October 2016

Abbotsford House, Abbotsford, Melrose, Roxburghshire TD6 9BQ

11:00 – Arrival at Visitor Centre and then gathering for coffee and orientation in Marquee

Visitors will then split into three groups with slightly different timings for the following:

11:30-12:30 House Tour

12:30-13:00 “Their leaders fallen, their standards lost”: a Waterloo red herring? (Dr Stuart Allan, Principal Curator of Scottish Late Modern Collections, National Museums Scotland), with viewing of the military colours

13:00-14:15 Lunch in Marquee

14:15-15:00 Garden Heritage Tour

15:15-15:45 Exhibition and introduction to the Scott the Antiquary Display

16:00-17:00 Free time before Drinks Reception, details of requirements tbc.

1700 Reception & Close


Conference Meal in the Abbotsford Ochiltree Restaurant (£55 per person)


7th October 2016 @ 9:00 am
8th October 2016 @ 5:00 pm
£30 - £120
Event Category:
Event Tags:
, , , , ,


0131 247 4133

Help us to do more

Help us: champion research; stimulate discussion; enhance public understanding; and share our extraordinary heritage. Donate directly to the Society now.