My Postcard as an Historical Artifact


Clan MacDonald of Clanranald coat of arms 

The postcard Oban from Pulpit hill can be used as an important historical artefact in many different ways. Features and characteristics displayed like the tartan pattern, the Clan MacDonald of Clanranald coat of arms, and the image of the town and surrounding scenery are very important. They can all be of significant use to historians trying to understand the context of the time period, in relation to themes like society, economy and aesthetic.  

leader of clanranald.jpg

Current Captain and Chief of Clanranald

Clanranald is a Scottish Highland clan is one of the main branches of Clan MacDonald, the oldest and largest clan in Scotland (Borland, 2019). Clanranald originated in the 14th century and is still active today, having clan gatherings and events. With the coat of arms shown on the postcard it shows that Clanranald most likely had some sort of connection to the town of Oban. The tartan pattern shown on the postcard is likely one of Clanranald’s many different ones. By the tartan being presented on the postcard it demonstrates that in the historical period that it was created, Scottish Highland society and culture was associated with tartans. At the height of the postcard craze, the publishing company that created this postcard Valentine & Sons published cards showing scenes from a number of countries (“Valentine & Sons Publishing Co,” n.d., para. 1). The publishing company chose to add the tartan pattern and the Clanranald coat of arms instead of just a photo of Oban. This displays that they were both significantly relevant to the thought of Scotland to people in that time period. As for the image of the town and the scenery in it, this can be used by a historian to study the infrastructural expansion of the town or the increase or decrease of the surrounding landscape. This postcard is an excellent primary source that can be evaluated by historians, they can use the image, tartan pattern and other features to dive into how it was used in the historical period it was made.        

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