The Penny Wedding in Scotland

Every picture tells a story of some sort and ‘The Penny Wedding’ by Alexander Carse in the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh records a old Scottish custom. At a wedding celebration guests would contribute to the function after the wedding ceremony with the passing round of a hat. Any surplus funds would be passed onto the happy couple.

The Penny Wedding by Alexander Carse ~ 1819: National Gallery of Scotland

Alexander Carse’s style was to depict elements of the social fabric of Scotland, and this painting from 1819 captures the obvious mirth and merriment of the occasion. Can you see someone passing round a hat for contributions and those there seeming hesitant to contribute? In the foreground a group of men is eagerly devouring a joint of meat with no time for dancing. Is that a wooden spoon in the coat pocket of one of them? There would be musicians in the throng, probably playing the fiddle.

The artist successfully depicts credible looking individuals. The look on the faces of some not so young females conveys the angst of their single or widowed state. Can you spot the courting couples in the fray and also the older married couples? Everyone is probably wearing the best outfit they possess.

In a corner of the painting the happy couple share in a toast to their future. The bride’s hair band suggests that the seated older couple are the bride’s parents. In the painting, observation reveals the artist’s intent. The art historian would no doubt have a lot to say about the style and composition of the work. Although a generation after Robert Burns, there would be so much in social graces very similar to his time.

By northernlight1

I have interests is a wide range of topics and have written on these and more formal subjects for quite some time. The written word still retains the power to inform and motivate - hopefully constructively and certainly has to be used responsibly in an age of false information trails.

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