Scotland Forever!

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Lady Butler, Scotland Forever! (1881; Leeds Art Gallery).

Scotland Forever! is an 1881 oil painting by Lady Butler depicting the start of the charge of the Royal Scots Greys, a British cavalry regiment that charged alongside the British heavy cavalry at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. In actuality, it appears that Scots Greys never started the charge at a gallop, due to the broken ground, and instead advanced at a quick walk. The horses which dominate the picture are the heavy grey mounts used by the regiment throughout its history until mechanization. Two hundred men and 224 horses of the Greys were killed or wounded during the charge portrayed.[1]

Butler was inspired to paint the charge as a response to the aesthetic paintings that she saw - and intensely disliked - on a visit to the Grosvenor Gallery. She had developed a reputation for her military pictures after the favourable reception of her earlier painting The Roll Call of 1874, on a subject from the Crimean War and her 1879 painting Remnants of an Army, on the 1842 retreat from Kabul. The painting takes its name from the battle cry: "Scotland for ever!"

The painting was exhibited at the Egyptian Hall in Piccadilly in 1881. It is now housed at the Leeds Art Gallery, having been one of its earliest acquisitions, a gift from Colonel Thomas Walter Harding (1843–1927) in 1888.[2] It was also an inspiration for the depiction of the same charge in the film Waterloo.[3]

During the First World War both the Germans and the British used this image in their propaganda material.


  1. ^ Diana M. Henderson, page 2 "The Scottish Regiments", ISBN 0 00 471025 8
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Ryan, David (1 February 2015). "Battle of Waterloo bicentenary: Scots Greys to charge again in re-enactment to mark anniversary of Napoleon's final defeat". The Independent. Retrieved 9 February 2016.