‘Waulking the Cloth’ by Jemima Blackburn
West Highland Museum
This painting depicts women ‘waulking’ cloth on the shores of Loch Nan Uamh.
They are seated in a circle wielding short mallets and singing, whilst members of the gentry look on. Waulking refers to pulling or stretching tartan in shape after weaving.
During this communal waulking process, women sang Gaelic songs and recited poetry to keep themselves amused. The painting was created by Jemima Wedderburn Blackburn (1823 – 1909) a renowned Scottish artist who lived at Roshven. Although she received no formal training in art, she was a watercolourist of outstanding ability.
Beatrice Potter is said to have based her character of Jemima Puddle-Duck Jemima Blackburn. Apparently the author was an admirer of her work!
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Materials : Watercolour on Canvas
Size : 74cm x 28cm