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Oldhamstocks Fair

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Oldhamstocks Fair Dated 1796

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
This watercolour shows a bustling fair in the small village of Oldhamstocks in East Lothian. The fair takes place at the Mercat (or Market) Cross, both the commercial heart of the village and symbol of its right to trade. Carse's picture dated 1796 is an important record of a Scottish country fair, as these were becoming increasingly rare. The late eighteenth century saw the disappearance of many rural customs and was a time of great social change in Scotland. Fairs and markets had traditionally been an integral part of the rural economy, fulfilling multiple functions as food, clothing and livestock markets, and as a hiring ground for farm servants. Carse takes great delight in depicting all the local characters, and shows that fairs were also a great opportunity for social gatherings.

Glossary Open


A paint with colouring and binding agents diluted with water. It has a transparent quality and is usually applied to paper.



  • Acc. No. D 4395
  • Medium Pen, ink, watercolour and bodycolour over black chalk on paper
  • Size 39.50 x 63.10 cm
  • Credit Major Rankin Gift 1948