Achnashie House

Arabian dagger from Achnashie HouseIn 1960, the Hunterian Museum received a donation of objects from Canon J. McLeod Campbell D.D. Along with these objects was received a handwritten and illustrated catalogue of artefacts ('Achnashie Arms and Images'). This collection, referred to as the McLeod Campbell collection, has never been on display within the Hunterian Museum and little is known about many of the objects.

Research has revealed the collection to be an excellent source of information regarding the enthusiasm for Oriental goods in late 19th Century colonial Britain. The McLeod Campbell collection serves as an example of the consumption of exotica.  The original McLeod Campbell collection was comprised of a great variety of objects from around the world, collected by Robert Story Campbell, an East India merchant. The artefacts ranged in type from religious icons, to arms and armour and interior decorative objects. A complete inventory of the artefacts, catalogued in 'Achnashie Arms and Images', reveals a distribution heavily favoured towards objects from India, with just over 81% of all objects having definite or likely Indian origin. Among the 19% of objects not from India are included artefacts from present day Nepal, Malaysia, Japan, Bosnia and Australia.

A total of 180 objects or groups of objects are catalogued in 'Achnashie Arms and Images' as having been on display in the Campbell family homes of Achnashie House and Gareloch House in Rosneath, Dunbartonshire. Of this total, forty-eight were acquired by the Hunterian Museum. A devastating fire in 1946 destroyed Achnashie House while American troops were billeted there. [Laura Tancredi, Hunterian Placement Masters Scholar, 2009].