Scott (Sir Walter Scott) (Personal)
Dress Scott #1
Scott Hunting Special
Dress Scott #2
Scott, Sir Walter
Scott, Sir Walter #2
Black & White tartan
Scott, Sir Walter #3
Scott Black and Grey
Scott Green (Sir Walter)
There are at least sixteen documented unique tartans associated with the Scott family or Sir Walter Scott, each with variations in the dyes to produce different effects. Other tartans are associated with families with ties to the Scotts. To understand why there are so many and why a Borders family would have such a quantity of tartans, something more often associated with a Highland Clan, a brief history lesson is in order.
Most think of tartan as the very colourful pattern or the cloth of Scotland. But originally the word "tartan" described the way the thread was woven to make the cloth: each thread passed over two threads then under two threads, and so on.... The original "tartan" was a very light, woollen material which couldn't really keep the wearer warm.
Long ago, tartan was a decorative woollen cloth made with a limited range of locally available vegetable dyes. Many of the black and white tartans required no dyes (black and white sheep) and probably represent the oldest patterns (or setts). Tartan fabrics in this era were popular within a limited geographic area near where they were manufactured. This lead to the concept of a district tartan associating the wearer as a native of the district and community where the pattern originated.
Dominant clans in an area became associated with the district tartans, especially in the Highlands where the clan system was strong. This eventually evolved into tartans being associated with the more powerful clans.
With the Scottish defeat at Culloden by UK government troops in 1746, the clan system and the use of tartans were outlawed as a method of weakening the Scottish people and preventing an organized response to the government in London. Only the Black Watch regiment was allowed to wear their distinctive tartan, forming the basis for regimental tartans today.
During the Victorian era of the 1800s, there was a realisation that the heritage of Scotland was being forgotten and along with it the tartan patterns used before the '45 uprising. A period of romanticism of Scotland's past began, fed by Sir Walter Scott's Waverley novels written in the eraly part of the 18th century. The Scottish romanticism trend was bolstered by the visit to Edinburgh of George IV in 1822 and by Sir Walter Scott's statement, as the visit's manager, "Let every man wear his tartan." Queen Victoria gave considerable encouragement to the movement fueling both a deluge of historical Scottish fantasy and fact.
The interest in Scottish lore lead to institutional and individual efforts to preserve tartan designs. Tartans were reconstructed from portraits, collected on pilgrimages, discovered in mill's sample books, demanded from clan chiefs, and recovered from weaver's notes. The significance of tartan as national dress created clan tartans for every "name," even those that previously had none. The identification of clans with tartan patterns became a successful concept. By the end of the 19th century all the recognized clans had their tartans, be they Highland or Lowland. These were often supplemented by hunting tartans of subdued character and dress tartans which were brighter.
As the catalyst in the rediscovery of Scotland's heritage, Sir Walter Scott had several of his own designs. The Scott clan, one of the dominant families in the Borders, has several tartans even though tartan is most often associated with Highland dress.
A tartan may be called something like "Ancient Red Scott" which looks different from a "modern" one of the same name and number. However, the pattern remains the same since it is just the shade of thread that differs. There are no explicit standards for the themes of colour use for these tartan types; the colours are chosen by experience by weavers or by thread suppliers.
Ancient colours have nothing to do with a tartan being old, but is an attempt to approximate the vegetable dyes that were originally used to make tartan cloth. The system of ancient colours came into being around 1960. Modern colours relate to the bright shades that were first popular when synthetic aniline dyes were introduced. In those days, only the rich could afford some strong colours and so it was fashionable to be able to do likewise. Reproduction or Weathered colours go further than ancient colours by attempting the effect produced by vegetable dyes after they had naturally faded. The Weathered Version came about after a piece of (McDonald) tartan was found at Culloden after being buried for 200+ years. The discoloration to brown tones was due to the peat and effects of weather. Muted colours are another, duller form of ancient colours but not always resembling reproduction colours. The Dress or white background tartans are a direct result of Queen Victoria having the Stewart Dress made for herself which then became popular in other tartans.
There are groups who document and register tartans. Until the 1960s, tartans were only documented though published books and mill catalogues. The Scottish Tartans World Register, the Scottish Tartans Society (now defunct) and the Scottish Tartans Authority all record established tartan setts (patterns). The Scott Tartan pages are a compilation from these sources, vendors, and published materials. The tartan numbers for each tartan are generally the same with the Scottish Tartans World Register and the Scottish Tartans Society adding a WR or ST prefix.
The Scottish Register of Tartans was set up by an Act of the Scottish Parliament in 2008 and contains thousands of tartan designs, which are free for you to search and reference.
In addition to containing tartan designs registered with the Scottish Register of Tartans since its ilaunch on 5 February 2009, also incorporates pre-existing tartan designs that were included in the databases held by the earlier Scottish Tartans Authority and the Scottish Tartans World Register.
All Tartans on this page are registered with The Tartan Register, which can be found at http://www.tartanregister.gov.uk/