Biography

Violet Jacob (1863 - 1946) : Violet Kennedy-Erskine, born in 1863 at the House of Dun, near Montrose. Her ancestral home appeared in some of her work, such as the novel Flemington, and The Lairds of Dun. In 1894 she married Arthur Jacob, an Irishman in the British Army, and they went to India with his regiment. They later travelled to Egypt, and settled down in various parts of England. Jacob lost her only son, Harry, in the First World War, and after her husband’s death in 1937, she returned to Angus, where she died in 1946, having received an honorary degree from Edinburgh University the year before.

Jacob’s literary début, The Sheepstealers, (1902) was well received, as was her next work, The Interlopers, (1904) with its remarkable Scots dialogue. She also wrote children’s books and romances, but is best known for Flemington, (1911) which deals with the Jacobite Rising of 1745 – a recurring theme in Scottish literature, which has featured in the oeuvre of Scott, Stevenson, and the like.

Jacob was also a gifted short story writer and renowned for her Scots vernacular poetry, which appeared in several volumes, and was published in anthologies by Hugh MacDiarmid and John Buchan. Recent critics appreciate the richness of her poetry, which draws on folk song and ballad traditions, and offers serious, radical as well as sentimental elements.