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TITLE
Doing the washing
EXTERNAL ID
QZP40_130_P052
PLACENAME
River Ness
DISTRICT
Inverness
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona
DATE OF IMAGE
1760
PERIOD
1720s
SOURCE
Highland Libraries
ASSET ID
30904
KEYWORDS
washing
domestic duties
work
tubs
clothes
daily life
rivers
water
Doing the washing

This illustration is from 'Letters from a Gentleman in the North of Scotland to his friend in London'. The letters, which were published anonymously, are by Edmund Burt, who died in 1755.

Edmund Burt was an Englishman sent to Scotland in 1730 to collect rents on the Glenmoriston and Seaforth estates, which were the last unsold estates forfeited after the 1715 rising. For most of the time he was based in Inverness, from where he wrote the letters.

Burt published the letters anonymously in 1754, and was accused of presenting the Highlands in a bad light, concentrating on the squalor and backwardness. Despite these accusations, his satirical and witty accounts are entertaining to read, and remain an important source of information on Highland life and customs in the 18th century, before a more romantic view took hold.

The illustration shows what Burt says is a common sight beside rivers in Scotland: 'women with their coats tucked up, stamping, in tubs, upon linen by way of washing'. This activity took place all year round, and two women would often be stamping together in one tub to give each other support.

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Doing the washing

INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona

1720s

washing; domestic duties; work; tubs; clothes; daily life; rivers; water;

Highland Libraries

Fraser Mackintosh Collection (illustrations)

This illustration is from 'Letters from a Gentleman in the North of Scotland to his friend in London'. The letters, which were published anonymously, are by Edmund Burt, who died in 1755.<br /> <br /> Edmund Burt was an Englishman sent to Scotland in 1730 to collect rents on the Glenmoriston and Seaforth estates, which were the last unsold estates forfeited after the 1715 rising. For most of the time he was based in Inverness, from where he wrote the letters. <br /> <br /> Burt published the letters anonymously in 1754, and was accused of presenting the Highlands in a bad light, concentrating on the squalor and backwardness. Despite these accusations, his satirical and witty accounts are entertaining to read, and remain an important source of information on Highland life and customs in the 18th century, before a more romantic view took hold.<br /> <br /> The illustration shows what Burt says is a common sight beside rivers in Scotland: 'women with their coats tucked up, stamping, in tubs, upon linen by way of washing'. This activity took place all year round, and two women would often be stamping together in one tub to give each other support.<br /> <br />