Burns night tradition involving “caup” takes a break due to COVID-19


A TRADITION involving a caup or cup used by Robert Burns usually used at Paisley Burns Club annual celebratory dinner has taken a break this year due to Covids-19.

The Burns Caup was presented to the Paisley Burns Club in 1814 and is on permanent loan to the Club by Paisley Museum.

The Caup is usually used at the clubs annual dinner and but due to celebrations being moved online it remained in storage taking a break from tradition this year.

Burns Caup - Scottish News
(Image copyright of Renfrewshire Leisure) Burns Caup, held by Renfrewshire Leisure on behalf of Paisley Burns Club.

The Caup or cup, was originally presented to the Club by James Armour brother-in-law to Robert Burns and was frequently used by the poet for celebratory toasts.

Unfortunately COVID-19 restrictions have limited access to the museum’s collections this year, and in a break with tradition, the Club’s ‘relics’ will remain in the museum’s Secret Collection and will not be used.

It is on permanent loan by the Paisley Burns Club to the museum, on the understanding that each year the caup and the Club’s snuff box can be used at their annual dinner.

After the dinner each year the caup and snuff box was be returned to the museum for safe keeping.

Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, Chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “Paisley Museum’s collections and the relationship with our local community are incredibly important.

“The historical objects in our collection and in our care, illustrate the area’s rich culture and Paisley’s story.

“The redevelopment of the museum will not only increase the number of objects on display by 100%, but it will  enable the objects’ stories to be reinterpreted, and retold in a way that is as engaging and meaningful for locals and visitors alike.”

Paisley Burns Club was originally founded on 29 January 1805 by the instruction of weaver-poet Robert Tannahill and is reputed to be the oldest club in the world.

Having lapsed in members after 1836, it wasn’t until 1874 that it was fully revived.

When the Club met again in 1875, almost 40 years later it was eminent townsmen that met.

This included thread manufacturer Sir Peter Coats, historian David Semple, and artist James Elder Christie who was passionate about Burns and often attended as a guest.

He attended the meeting of the Paisley Burns Club when it was revived in 1875, and was a central figure in Burns’ celebrations in London in the 1870s.

Tam OShanter - James Elder Christie - Scottish News
Tam OShanter – James Elder Christie 1847 -1914 Paisley Art Institute Collection held by Paisley Museum Renfrewshire Leisure

Paisley Museum holds the largest collection of works by artist and Burns’ enthusiast James Elder Christie (1847-1914) in the world.

Dr Victoria Irvine, Curator of Art at Renfrewshire Leisure said: “Christie’s passion for Burns is well documented and during his time in Paisley he attended many meetings of the Club where he would recite the works of Burns with immense enthusiasm.

His artworks depicting scenes from Burns’ poems are held in our collections today and show the depth to which he understood and admired the poet.”