Tuesday’s ad is for No. 3 Scotch Ale, from William Younger’s, possibly from 1913. I like its simplicity, and especially the beautiful label.
Thursday’s ad is for the Scottish brand Younger’s Tartan Special, from 1978, when, presumably the beer started to be imported to Argentina. I love the idea of a giant plaid boat, flying the Scottish flag. For some reason this ad reminded me of a scene in the Herman Raucher novel, “Summer of ’42,” where the main character, Hermie, is trying to buy a box of condoms and is thinking as he’s looking over the different packages that whatever color the box happens to be is also the same color as the condom itself. He sees a plaid box and thinks to himself, something along the lines of, “plaid, that’s enough to send a young girl screaming into the night!” It’s funny what sticks in your head. But the idea of a ginormous plaid boat would be quite a sight coming over the horizon.
Monday’s ad is for George Younger’s Alloa Brewery in Scotland, from 1953. It uses a great illustration by an artist from Edinburgh identified as “MacKay,” depicting a scene from Tam O’Shanter, a poem by Robert Burns. Here’s what one source had to say about the ad:
There were at least nine breweries in Alloa during the 1900s producing a variety of ales for home and export trades. Alloa was well positioned, with a good water supply, close to local supplies of barley and good sea transport links. Alloa ale was sent to London and George Younger had an extensive export trade in the West Indies, Egypt and the Far East. Alloa was also famed for its lager, Alloa Brewery Co developing Graham’s Golden Lager in 1925 and renamed Skol in the 1950s. Closures and mergers in the 1950s and 1960s reduced the number of breweries to 2 and by 1999 there was one, The Forth Brewery.
That might not seem like big news, and perhaps it’s not, but Traquair House is one of favorite places so I never miss a chance to talk about it. If you’ve never been to the brewery, it should definitely be on your beer bucket list. It’s not easy to get to, but it is worth it. Oh, and the beer is terrific, too. If you haven’t had their beer, you should correct that … immediately.
Traquair House Ale shows a deep reddish-amber color and full, velvet-like body. The aroma offers a hint of rich oak; the flavor is opulently malty, complex, and deep but subtle. OG 1.070; IBU 26; ABV 7.2%.
Traquair Jacobite Ale, first brewed in 1995, is spiced with hops as well as another traditional seasoning: coriander. Deep brown; spice and leather aroma; full body; exotic, engaging character and finish. OG 1.075; IBU 23; ABV: 8.0%.
From the press release:
In 1566, Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, visited Traquair House on the banks of Scotland’s Tweed River with her infant son James, who would later become King James I of England. During that visit, she drank good ale brewed at Traquair.
Descendants of the same family have lived at Traquair since 1491. Beer was brewed there from the earliest times until some time after 1800; in 1965 the 20th Laird of Traquair, Peter Maxwell Stuart — following his heart and his family heritage — brought the tiny brewery back to life, brewing traditional ales in a 1738 copper brewkettle and fermenting them in wooden vessels.
Traquair House Brewery is known today for excellent ales — traditional, historical, masterpieces of rich, full, engaging flavor: a taste of Scotland.
It’s a cool place, with a cool history, making cool beers. What more do you need to know?
This week’s work of art is by a Scottish artist, George Harvey, who painted Hop-Picking around 1839. The setting of the painting is believed to be in the Kentish area of England.
This week’s work of art is by a Scottish artist, John Quinton Pringle, who around 1904 painted Study of a Head, which is also known as Man With a Drinking Mug.
Here’s how the National Gallery of Scotland, where the painting is hung, describes Pringle and the work:
Pringle trained as an optician in 1874 and ran his own business as optician and electrician from 1896 to 1923. He used his shop as a studio after hours painting predominantly small canvases, like this painting. From around 1895 he developed an interest in French Impressionism, which influenced this work. This is one of three portraits Pringle made of an elderly man who frequented the Saltmarket area of Glasgow and visited the artist in his shop. The sitter was nicknamed ‘Kruger’ due to his supposed likeness to Paul Kruger, the Boer resistance leader and president of the Transvaal republic in South Africa. The painting is thought to date from 1904 – it is signed and dated but Pringle’s style makes it difficult to read.
This week’s work of art is the holiday-themed “The Wassail,” by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the Scottish watercolourist and architect, designer and sculptor. He was best known as “a designer in the Arts and Crafts movement and also the main exponent of Art Nouveau in the United Kingdom” and he had “considerable influence on European design.” Born in 1868, The Wassail was painted in 1900.
The original painting is in Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Below is a detail of the center panel or section of the painting.
Wassailing is, of course, a traditional English and European custom that took place around the holidays, sometime around Christmas and in other traditions into mid-January. To read more about it, there are interesting accounts at the Hymns and Carols of Christmas, About.com, Time Travel Britain and White Dragon.
To learn more about Mackintosh, Wikipedia is a good place to start or the biography at his “official” website, Charles Rennie Mackintosh. There’s also a small Wikigallery with two dozen works and a good list of links at ArtCyclopedia.