Weel done, Cutty-sark!


Brad David wrote last week asking about the picture I used on the recent Jack Rose poster design. I’d seen this engraving for years in various books but was unsure of its provenance so the enquiry made me curious as well. The picture in question is an illustration for the poem Tam O’Shanter by Robert Burns and since it’s a depiction of cavorting witches and warlocks it turns up frequently in occult encyclopedias.

After a bit of searching it transpires that the engraving is based on a series of six paintings illustrating the poem by Scottish artist John Faed (1819–1902). Here we’re seeing the moment just before drunken Tam (his face visible at the window) shouts “Weel done, Cutty-sark!” to the young witch in the centre, whereupon the lights go out and a shrieking horde of angry witches chase him home.

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