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  1. #1
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    Weathered Tartans

    Hi all,

    I'm thinking of expanding my collection with a weathered tartan kilt in my clan's pattern (Sinclair).

    I'm wondering if anyone has any specific intel on how weathered tartans became an offering for so many clans? Personally, I've always thought of them as more outdoorsy, and I love how they look with a fairisle or fisherman's jumper.

    I know 70% of the people here are going to say it's all just a matter of personal preference, but does anyone have any specific occasions/outfits for which their clan's weathered tartan is preferred? Obviously hunting tartans (which are green-based) have a pretty self explanatory use... wondering if there is any known lore around weathered or if they're just born out of giving the wearer another color option?

    Thanks,
    Andrew

  2. #2
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    The story as told to me by one of the weavers in Scotland is -

    The word Modern is used to represent the Tartan as it is dyed with modern dyes, so the colors are deep and vivid.

    The word Ancient is to be a simulation of what the Tartan could have looked like if dyed with natural dyes.

    And the word 0Weathered is to be a simulation of what the Tartan could have looked like if left out in the sun and faded for 40 years.

    Of course we know that some natural dyes are also bright and vivid.
    We know that not all natural dyes are soft and light tones.
    And we know that not all dyes turn brown or orange when exposed to sunlight.

    So the alternate colorways are the weavers way of selling more fabric. A person may prefer a specific name but not like original colors. So now there are alternatives.

    There is a pretty fanciful story behind the use of the word "Reproduction".
    While the use of the word 'Muted' is admitted to be totally made up just because those were the colors they had, and thought they would look nice.

    But not all Tartans are offered in the alternate colorways. Just as not all Tartans were give a Clan or family name.

    I too like the weathered versions of some Tartans. So yea, a weaver made a buck from me.


    Black Watch Weathered colorway.

    Last edited by Steve Ashton; 29th February 20 at 08:41 PM.
    Steve Ashton
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  4. #3
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    Oh, and not all "hunting" Tartans are green or brown.

    Some people are very set on wearing Tartans that only bear "their name". So now they can have a choice and still feel good about wearing something different.
    Steve Ashton
    Forum Owner

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  6. #4
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    Steve - I have a feeling you’re 100% right. I guess In an ideal world we’d all have kinloch anderson kilts in every tartan and we could just pick and choose based on our mood that day. It’s a shame they’re such an investment and so expensive!

  7. #5
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    I can't recall seeing an example of Weathered Colours being offered for sale until the introduction of Reproduction Colours in the 1950s. The latter proved popular but the term and (I think) shades were copyright. In order to cash in on the popularity a number of other weavers produced their own version of the shades under the name Weathered Colours.

    As an aside, the story surrounding the origin of Reproduction colours is very romantic but quite false. It was claimed by Dalgliesh Ltd that a piece of tartan was dug up at the Culloden battlefield in 1946 and after 200 years buried in the peat, the colours had become very drab, hence the term 'weathered' by some manufacturers. Unfortunately, when it was still family owned, the firm that gave us Reproduction colours has declined to answer questions concerning the shades’ origins. It is perhaps significant that there appears to be no record of the 'original specimen'. Given the historical importance of such an artefact it is not unreasonable to expect it to have been examined the claims verified by an independent observer and the specimen preserved. I’m therefore of the opinion that the story is an invention designed to sell more cloth.


  8. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by figheadair View Post
    I can't recall seeing an example of Weathered Colours being offered for sale until the introduction of Reproduction Colours in the 1950s. The latter proved popular but the term and (I think) shades were copyright. In order to cash in on the popularity a number of other weavers produced their own version of the shades under the name Weathered Colours.

    As an aside, the story surrounding the origin of Reproduction colours is very romantic but quite false. It was claimed by Dalgliesh Ltd that a piece of tartan was dug up at the Culloden battlefield in 1946 and after 200 years buried in the peat, the colours had become very drab, hence the term 'weathered' by some manufacturers. Unfortunately, when it was still family owned, the firm that gave us Reproduction colours has declined to answer questions concerning the shades’ origins. It is perhaps significant that there appears to be no record of the 'original specimen'. Given the historical importance of such an artefact it is not unreasonable to expect it to have been examined the claims verified by an independent observer and the specimen preserved. I’m therefore of the opinion that the story is an invention designed to sell more cloth.
    Peter, I asked that question of Kenny Dalgliesh years and years ago and his answer was not quite this. He said that the reproduction colours were an imagination of what tartan colours would become IF buried at Culloden for 200 years. He didn't claim -- in my memory -- that he had anything other than imagination on which to base his new range. I suppose that was the reason for choosing the words 'Reproduction Colours' rather than 'Drummossie Colours' which he said was another consideration. That conversation would have taken place in the mid- to late-70s.

    As for selling more cloth, we wouldn't have the range of tartan we have if it had not been for Wilsons and the Sobiesky brothers design-for-the-market ideas.

    I, too, like Reproduction and Weathered colours; I'm not as fond of the muted ones.

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  10. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThistleDown View Post
    Peter, I asked that question of Kenny Dalgliesh years and years ago and his answer was not quite this. He said that the reproduction colours were an imagination of what tartan colours would become IF buried at Culloden for 200 years. He didn't claim -- in my memory -- that he had anything other than imagination on which to base his new range. I suppose that was the reason for choosing the words 'Reproduction Colours' rather than 'Drummossie Colours' which he said was another consideration. That conversation would have taken place in the mid- to late-70s.

    As for selling more cloth, we wouldn't have the range of tartan we have if it had not been for Wilsons and the Sobiesky brothers design-for-the-market ideas.

    I, too, like Reproduction and Weathered colours; I'm not as fond of the muted ones.
    Rex, somewhere I have seen something produced by the firm that did claim that it was based on a sample found at Culloden. It was on the basis of that that I had an email exchange with Kenny who confirmed the story but did not reply when I asked about the whereabouts of the 'original' specimen.

    The current company information says:

    Exclusive Reproduction Tartans authentic in colour and design to those worn in 1745 and before. They are woven in pure 100% new wool, using traditional weaving methods. The colourings of these Tartans offer a soft muted effect reminiscent of the days when vegetable sources such as lichen, moss and alder bark provided the dyer with his raw materials D.C. Dalgliesh is Scotland's last authentic artisan tartan weaver, still producing only traditional tartans with a natural (kilting) selvedge.

    The comment about 'vegetable dyes' (correctly, natural dyes) producing soft, muted colours is nonsense, natural dyes are equally capable of producing strong shades. The part about being the last uthentic artisan weaver is also inaccurate, as those who use Andrew Elliot Ltd know..

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  12. #8
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    So, Peter, I guess we could say that Dalgleish made up the story out of whole cloth

    Oh what a tangled web we weave, etc.

    Andrew

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  14. #9
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    Peter's memory is correct, and furthermore DC Dalgliesh continues to make that claim on their current website.

    Here, which I just now cut and pasted:

    Reproduction Palette.

    Probably the most historically authentic tartans on the market, derived from fragment of tartan cloth more than two centuries old, dug up from the historic Culloden Moor in 1946. Careful analysis and research into the original dyes by DC Dalgliesh led to a range of tartans designed to be authentic in colour and design to those worn in 1745 and before. They have a soft muted effect reminiscent of the days when vegetable sources such as lichen, moss and alder bark provided the dyer's raw materials.


    If I recall correctly Dalgliesh introduced their Reproduction Palette in 1949.

    Seems to me that there are three possibilities:

    1) Dalgliesh saw a tartan fragment stained brown by peat, and more or less imitated it.

    2) Dalgliesh saw a tartan fragment which was originally woven in brown tones, and more or less imitated it.

    3) Dalgliesh created a wholly new colour-scheme and invented the tale as a marketing device.

    In any case Lochcarron lifted the colour-scheme entire and dubbed it "weathered colours".

    I do wonder when Lochcarron introduced that line.

    BTW the TV show Outlander has led thousands, if not millions, of people the world over to think that 18th century tartans all looked like Weathered MacKay

    Last edited by OC Richard; 3rd March 20 at 05:07 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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  16. #10
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    I tend to view much of what we are told about Scottish history by the tourist board, weavers, distillers, biscuit makers, etc., etc., to be very much like how Hollywood portrays Westerns. Yes, there was chap called Wyatt Earp, yes there was a shoot out of some sort at the OK corral and after that, I just sit back and enjoy the story.........or not.
    Last edited by Jock Scot; 3rd March 20 at 05:32 AM.
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

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