Magnum Photos: Where Ideas Are Born, David Batchelor: Colour Is and our permanent collections will be open on Saturday 20 August. Due to a wedding taking place, our ground floor galleries will be closed on this day from 3pm. Sorry for any inconvenienced caused.

Unknown

Ceremony at Gretna Green

Details

Artist

Unknown

Title

Ceremony at Gretna Green

Date

1907

Medium

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

H: 36.5 x W: 32 cm.

Reference

CVCSC:0018.F

Collection

British Folk Art

Status

On Display

The 1754 Marriage Act set the age of consent at 21 in England, but in Scotland couples could still marry from the age of 14 by declaring their wish to be husband and wife in front of two witnesses. Many couples eloped to Gretna Green, just over the border, where the simple civil ceremony was performed by the local blacksmith over his anvil. This painting is based on a popular engraving by W. Matthews of Oxford, which bears the inscription: ‘GRETNA GREEN or the RED HOT MARRIAGE / Oh!Mr. Blacksmith ease our Pains and Tie us fast with Wedlock’s Chains.’ Artist unknown - initialled 'AB'.

Ceremony at Gretna Green 1907 © Compton Verney