Snuff mull; 1936/26/1


Snuff mull

About this object

Curling ram's horn with hinged silver lid; the lid has a round orange-coloured cabochon stone (carnelian or agate?) mounted on the end and the inscription 'Craigdarroch to Robert Burns the Bard of the Whistle Oct. 1790.' Suspended from the snuff mull by silver belcher chains are tools - a rabbit's paw, a spoon with a long handle, and a mallet-style hammer with a long handle.

This ornate snuff mull was a gift to Burns from Alexander Fergusson of Craigdarroch for acting as witness to an infamous drinking contest in 1790. At stake was a famous ‘whistle’ brought to Scotland from Denmark in the 1590s. The ‘last man standing’ had the privilege of blowing the whistle when he had drunk his competitors ‘under the table’. Burns immortalized Fergusson’s triumph in his poem ‘The Whistle’.

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