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Happiest Day: Wedding Customs in Transition

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Marriage of Saint Margaret with King Malcolm

after 1772
18th century
22.5 cm x 18.8 cm (8 7/8 in. x 7 3/8 in.)

Alexander Runciman (Edinburgh, 1736 - 1785) Primary

Object Type: print
Artist Nationality: Europe, Scottish
Medium and Support: Etching
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Leo Steinberg Collection, 2002
Accession Number: 2002.1246

Runciman's etching is a reproduction of a scene from his decorative cycle for the staircase at Penicuik House in Scotland, now destroyed. The patron meant to celebrate Scottish history by featuring one of its most beloved historical figures, Saint Margaret. Margaret's marriage to Malcolm III of Scotland in 1070 is a medieval example of the political function of such unions. Margaret was the sister of a pretender to the throne in England after William the Conqueror invaded England in 1066. Although she had planned to live a contemplative life in a convent, she needed protection from her family's rivals. She consented to the marriage they arranged and is credited with converting her Scottish husband and with enlightening the reputedly primitive Scottish court.

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