Sir Walter Scott is one of the most influential writers in history, and his work continues to inspire new generations of authors and readers alike. Scott is regarded as the inventor of historical novels. He was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on August 15, 1771, to father who was a lawyer. From an early age Scott would listen to stories from family members and he became engulfed in history, poetry, and romance novels. He took up a literary career in the 1790’s and published “The Chase, and William and Helen” in 1796 which became his first work. Today Walter Scott is found on the Scottish Pound Sterling but, do you know why?
In 1826, he wrote “Ivanhoe”, which would become one of his most famous novels. His works were widely read by people of all classes and ages. His subject matter was based on Scottish history, but he also wrote about other periods in time and places outside Scotland. Scott’s novels also had a lasting effect on writers who came after him. Many of these later authors drew inspiration from Scott’s work and incorporated elements into their own novels. Today, Scott’s novels are still studied in schools and universities, as well as being taught in universities. In his final days he suffered from bad health and was in dire financial problems. He died in 1832 at the age of 61.
Although Scott is widely known for his literary work, he is also credited with saving Scottish banknotes but, why is that? In 1826 Parliament wanted to prevent private Scottish commercial banks from printing banknotes with denominations less than 5 Pounds. Upon learning hearing this, Scott started writing public letters under the name Malachi Malagrowther, attacking these proposals. These letters drew enough support that the proposals were dropped and Scottish banks continued to print Scottish banknotes. Today there are three retail banks, the Bank of Scotland, the Royal Bank of Scotland, and Clydesdale Bank who print their own versions of Scottish banknotes.
Today you can find Walter Scott on various Scottish Pound banknotes lets look at a few of them. Scotland 50 Pounds Sterling, 2020. It is a red polymer banknote and its obverse side features Sir Walter Scott and thistles over the Bank of Scotland building and the bank of Scotland coat of arms. Its reverse side shows a Falkirk ship lifting a wheel in addition to the Kelpies monument which consists of two horses.
Scotland 20 Pounds Sterling, 2019. It’s colored in violet and blue and made of polymer. Its obverse side features Sir Walter Scott, and the Bank of Scotland building and coat of arms. Its reverse side shows Forth Bridges.
Scotland 20 Pounds, 2004. This is a commemorative banknote released by the Bank of Scotland in celebration of its 300th year of service. The obverse of this depicts a picture of Scottish novelist Sir Walter Scott and the emblem of the bank which is flanked by two women. On the reverse is a woman researcher in a laboratory center. It also features the medallion of Pallas, the bank arms, and the emblem of the Union Bank of Scotland which is represented by a sailing ship. The Bank of Scotland building can also be found on the bottom left of the reverse.
Scotland – Bank of Scotland 1 Pound, 1988. Its obverse features the bank arms with two women. It also shows a picture of Sir Walter Scott. On the reverse of the note is the Union Bank of Scotlands emblem which depicts a sailing ship. Additionally, the medallion of Pallas is displayed.