In the beautifully grand setting of St Mary’s Cathedral, a small and seemingly unimportant collection of objects are grouped together in the side chapel. These objects hold secrets, pasts, memories. When King George IV was welcomed into Edinburgh, he was met by a man named Sir Patrick Walker. Walker’s sisters, Barbara and Mary never married, leaving their money in trust to build the cathedral itself. The objects - a collection of clothes, banners and curios prepared for presentation upon the King’s arrival - are tied to the history of the building and offer an interesting insight into Scotland’s historical relationship with the united monarchy.
Including fascinatingly huge wax seals, a pair of stockings worn by Sir Patrick himself and beautifully rich courtly costumes, the entire collection has been very well preserved. The grand glory of the age is expressed in the golds and reds of exquisite silks and velvets, the fur collars and swooping tasseled cloaks. These are objects of beauty and intrigue.
Although the church is an interesting venue for an exhibition, with the practicing organist creating an engrossing atmosphere, the curation is painfully dated. The mannequins upon which these costumes are hung are really quite creepy, and the rest of the objects sit lifelessly in glass cabinets. This small exhibit is interesting in its content but uninspired in its presentation; its potential to capture the interest of the audience is thus considerably hindered.
If you’re a history buff, this exhibition is well worth a look in. If not, this exhibition may not be quite exciting enough to compete with the brighter lights of the Fringe.