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Annmarie Adams on The Scottish Home

16 December, 2020

This annotation is an extract from Annmarie Adams (1996) review ‘The Scottish Home’, Material History Review, Spring 1998, 93-95

From here in the ‘distinct society’, I applauded Scotland’s hearty endorsement of a separate parliament a few months ago. Having visited Scotland as a child (and later as a student of architecture), it seemed evident to me that Scots are quite different than their neighbours to the south. Even by the age of 13, when I was fortunate enough to travel to Edinburgh with my parents, I had worn kilts and taken Scottish dancing lessons. A few years later I read Sir Walter Scott novels in high school and learned about (ugh!) haggis. More than two decades later, as an architectural historian, I have little doubt that the work of the great Scottish architects, such as Robert Lorimer and Charles Rennie Mackintosh, is particularly interesting because of its Scottishness.

It was from this position of the predisposed convert that I approached The Scottish Home. Why write a book on the Scottish home? How did its evolution differ from houses in England? And perhaps most selfishly, I wondered what such a book might teach us about interpreting Canadian houses, whose history, after all, is sim­ilarly overshadowed by our neighbors to the south.

The Scottish Home is an extremely ambitious undertaking. Seven authors (academics and museum professionals) have uncovered the history of the Scottish home from 1600 to 1950 in nine chapters. It may, however, have been more accurately entitled ‘Stuff in the Scottish Home’, since its emphasis is on objects and artifacts (particularly furniture), rather than buildings. An introduction to the book is followed by two chapters on small rural and urban houses. The subsequent six sections are organized like the house itself, in rooms: kitchen, hall/lobby, dining room, drawing room, bedroom, and bathroom.

Annmarie Adams on The Scottish Home

This annotation is an extract from Annmarie Adams (1996) review ‘The Scottish Home’, Material History Review, Spring 1998, 93-95