Scottish Widows

In Nausicaa Bloom thinks of the charitable visit he paid to Mrs. Dignam an hour earlier and his plans to help her family: "Anyhow she wants the money. Must call to those Scottish Widows as I promised. Strange name. Takes it for granted we’re going to pop off first." The "strange name" of this life insurance company (it is no less strange that Bloom refers to it in the plural, as if the company is run by widows) stems from its origins as a privately held annuity fund in 18th century Scotland. By 1904 those origins had been submerged in the flood of impersonal British financial instruments. Patrick Dignam's policy likewise seems to have been swept up in some obscure financial dealings.

John Hunt 2021

Scottish Widows' Fund poster designed by Walter Crane in 1888, held in the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington. Source:

1878 advertisement for Scottish Widows insurance. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

One of five bookmarks designed by Walter Crane for Scottish Widows in 1913, listing the address of the Dublin office. Source: