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'At Auchmithie 1881'. Woman leaning against boat

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'At Auchmithie 1881'. Woman leaning against boat 1881

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
James Cox’s photographs of Auchmithie in the early 1880s bear a strong resemblance to the Newhaven photographs by Hill and Adamson, taken some forty years earlier. This isolated fishing community, to the north-east of Dundee, became known to a wider audience as the inspiration for the village of Musselcrag in Sir Walter Scott’s novel ‘The Antiquary’. The striking photograph of an Auchmithie fishwife would have been interpreted as an image of one of its characters, Maggie Mucklebackit. Her famous line, ‘It’s no fish ye’re buying – it’s men’s lives’ refers to the dangers of the fishing trade. This image of the simple, earnest and hardworking life of the pre-industrial age is imbued with nostalgia, whilst also showing its continued existence in the late-nineteenth century.

Glossary Open


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  • Acc. No. PGP 37.VOL 7.32
  • Medium Platinum
  • Size 29.30 x 19.40 cm
  • Credit Purchased 1983