Highland targe

This 17th-century Highland targe bears the initials of the soldier and 14th chief of Clan MacKay, Sir Donald MacKay (1591-1649) and was donated to the Hunterian Museum by B Smith in 1813. Together with other objects strongly associated with Scotland’s military past, targes were often pictured in images and mentioned by travellers, including Dr Samuel Johnson and Thomas Pennant. The latter recalls in the account of his 1772 tour a vision featuring a Ossianic hero, floating in the air before him, “his target and his claymore … of no common size”.