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Emblems of Scotland by Scottish Artist Gillian Kyle

Robert the Bruce, Tartan Day and April 6th

Emblems of Scotland logo by Scottish Artist Gillian Kyle

This is my Scottish infographic about our world-renowned and iconic Emblems of Scotland; a story rich in history, pioneers and Scottish character.

At Gillian Kyle we draw our Scottish inspiration from what’s around us: the great and small, the old and new. All the things that make Scotland so wonderfully different and unique.

And there is no greater inspiration for me than the Emblems of Scotland themselves. These centuries-old emblems/symbols/icons/images – call them what you like – have helped shape our collective spirit and identity both at home and abroad.

Ahead of this April 6th, I would like to bring you this illustrated story which brings many of these emblems together.

It’s honestly difficult to find a greater symbol of Scottish fortitude and persistence than Robert the Bruce.

After the notable victories of the Battle of Stirling Bridge (1297) and Bannockburn (1314), Robert the Bruce with the support of many his Scottish nobles sought to break the feudal shackles of English control.

On April 6th, 1320, they wrote to the Pope seeking international recognition of Scotland’s right to freedom. This letter was called the Declaration of Arbroath.

Robert the Bruce by Gillian Kyle
Wallace Mounment by Gillian Kyle

Here are 2 of the better-known lines from his letter:

As long as only one hundred of us remain alive we will never on any conditions be brought under English rule.

For we fight not for glory, nor riches, nor honours, but for Freedom alone, which no good man gives up except with his life.

Wow, does it get any more rousing than this?

But let’s not leave William Wallace out of this story for it was he who led the Scottish troops at the Battle of Stirling Bridge; cementing his place in history and as another powerful Emblem of Scotland.

Tartan, the traditional and contemporary Symbol of Scotland.

Over 15% of Canadians claim to have Scottish ancestry. Back in the 1980s, with a growing interest to promote this shared heritage, it’s easy to see how their day of celebration would end up being called Tartan Day. Fittingly, Nova Scotia was the first province to make it official and get Tartan Day signed off by their legislature.

A year later the US Government passed a similar resolution with exactly the same name, Tartan Day. And on exactly the same date, April 6th.

Kilt by Gillian Kyle
Bagpipes by Gillian Kyle

And so here we are, one year short of the 700th anniversary of the writing of the Declaration of Arbroath; Robert the Bruce and his peers will be recognised (directly or indirectly) across North America this Tartan Day for their mighty and selfless efforts so many years before.

And did you know that the inspiration for the writing of the US Declaration of Independence (from England) in 1664 has been largely credited to the Declaration of Arbroath written 3 centuries before?

I dare say there will be one or two more icons or emblems of Scotland on show across North America this April 6th: kilts, bagpipes and maybe even a bottle of Scotch or two.

To our brothers and sisters in North America and elsewhere – Slainte (slangevar), Slange or plain old Cheers!

Gillian Kyle Signature

If you enjoyed this Scottish infographic, you may also want to check out our other Scottish illustrated Stories:

PS – there are many more stories to tell about the Emblems of Scotland  – and tell them I shall.

If you’ve enjoyed this (or just love all things Scottish), please sign up to our mailing list so I can send you my next Scottish Story.

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