Saint Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland and the Saltire (X-shaped cross) is Scotland's flag. Through our collections at National Museums Scotland, discover how he has been represented through the centuries.
The Saltire was carried at the field of Bannockburn in 1314 along with the Brec Bennoch of St Columba, which has in the past been associated with the Monymusk reliquary, also in the National Museum of Scotland. However, recent research has questioned this tradition. You can find out more about the Monymusk reliquary here.
The unicorn is Scotland's national animal, and has appeared in Scottish heraldry since the 12th century. This carved oak panel bears the Royal Arms of James V, and dates from around 1540 - 1550. When James VI became king of England and Ireland in 1603, the unicorn on the left of the coat of arms was replaced with the English lion, to show that the countries were now united.
Sir James Black (1924 - 2010) was one of the greatest Scottish scientists of the modern era. His work in medicine and pharmacology has improved the quality of life for millions of people around the world. This Senior Anatomy Medal, awarded to Sir James by the University of St Andrews, 1943, depicts the saint on his cross. You can find out more about Sir James Black here.
The Order of the Thistle was founded by James VII and II in 1687, and after his exile to France, the deposed King continued to use it to encourage loyalty among his supporters. You can find out more about our Jacobite collection here.
The inscription on the blade of this broadsword, made around 1715, proclaims support for the Jacobite cause. The inscription reads: ‘Prosperity to Schotland and no Union’ and ‘For God my Country and King James the 8’. Above it is an image of St Andrew. You can find out more about the broadsword here.
This lavish travelling canteen or picnic set, presented as a gift to Prince Charles Edward Stuart by a Jacobite supporter, features St Andrew on the lid. The canteen is emblazoned with symbols representing the Prince's position, including the three feathers of the Prince of Wales and a pattern of thistles – the Prince was made a Knight of the Thistle shortly after his birth in 1720. Bonnie Prince Charlie was keen to emphasise his Scottish roots to encourage support, dressing in tartan during his ill-fated time in Scotland, which ended with his defeat at the Battle of Culloden. You can find out more about the canteen here.
This rare Jacobite colour, or flag, was carried by the Appin Stewart Regiment at the Battle of Culloden, a battle which saw the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite cause. You can find out more about the Battle of Culloden here.
From medieval times to the present day, the Saltire remains one of Scotland's most recognisable symbols. This flag was flown at Holyrood and then taken on space shuttle mission STS-116 to the International Space Station from 9 to 22 December 2006 by astronaut Nick Patrick, whose mother came from Skye.
Text and images © National Museums Scotland.