Lord Lovat’s Spectacles
West Highland Museum

These round, tortoiseshell spectacles with a leather case are said to have belonged to Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat, (1667 – 1747).

Chief of Clan Fraser, he was a Jacobite who was nicknamed the ‘Old Fox’ for his double-dealings, violent feuds, and changes of allegiance.

Lovat was convicted of treason for his part in the 1745 Jacobite Rising and was sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered. His punishment was commuted to beheading and on 9 April 1747 he was the last person to be publicly executed on Tower Hill, London.

Such a crowd gathered for his execution that a stand holding spectators collapsed and killed nine people. Lovat was so amused by the incident that legend has it that this is where the origin of the phrase ‘laughing your head off’ comes from.

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Date: 1680 – 1740
Materials : Tortoiseshell, Glass, Leather
Size : 11cm x 25cm

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