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  1. #561
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    Fish or Fowl?

    Interesting. I have what appears to be an identical sporran, right down to the Made in Scotland label on the back. I bought it in an online auction. Of course here in the States, you can wear anything you want, but I'm curious. Obviously this is appropriate for a pipe band, but does it fit elsewhere in Highland dress? Could it be worn with daywear or evening wear, or is it neither fish nor fowl?

    Dave

  2. #562
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    Good question, and the answer depends on one's feelings about "traditional Highland Dress" versus "post-traditional Highland Dress" (for lack of a better term).

    Because in traditional Highland Dress (as it emerged around WWI) there's a near-total demarcation betweed "day" and "evening" dress and nothing in between. The catalogues of the 1920s and 1930s even recommend different kilts for Day and Eve (fine Saxony for evening, heavy worsted for day) but I recognise that the catalogues' job is to sell things.

    In traditional Highland Dress leather sporrans were brown and for Day, end of story. Taking off in the 1970s the Kilt Hire Industry and the Pipe Band world combined to create a demand for black leather sporrans using the old Day patterns (often with chrome "evening" elements added) to go with their new hybrid Day/Eve outfits based around the black Argyll jacket (pipe bands) or the black Prince Charlie (kilt hire) and white hose.

    Just why the Pipe Band world leapt on that particular style, Hunting sporran in black with chrome top, who can say. My theory is that it combined ruggedness (no tassels to fall off, no fur to wear off) with a bit of shiny bling.
    Last edited by OC Richard; 3rd September 22 at 03:59 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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  4. #563
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    Speaking of "semi-dress" sporrans, here's quite a bargain especially for US buyers, a Nicoll Brothers black leather sporran with seal front for well under $50. It seems in great condition.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/17540306652...tion=10%7C3000
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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  6. #564
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC Richard View Post
    Speaking of "semi-dress" sporrans, here's quite a bargain especially for US buyers, a Nicoll Brothers black leather sporran with seal front for well under $50. It seems in great condition.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/17540306652...tion=10%7C3000
    Well alright, individual perceptions will differ and perceptions across the Atlantic may differ even more. That is a rather inconvenient fact of life on occasion.

    For me, I might happily spend 50 on the sporran and then burn it! To my rather jaundiced eye those sporrans of that style are an insult to Scottish attire. They are built down to a price where quality and artistic effect are non existent.
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

  7. #565
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jock Scot View Post
    To my rather jaundiced eye those sporrans of that style are an insult to Scottish attire. They are built down to a price where quality and artistic effect are non-existent.
    About quality I'll have to disagree, as it's made by Nicoll Brothers (Bankfoot) which were one of the old-school makers (going back to the 1840s). I've owned a few modern Nicoll Bros sporrans and to me the quality is quite good, a notch above W E Scott & Son (Edinburgh) but perhaps a notch below L&M Highland (Nova Scotia) who are two other old-school makers.

    About artistic effect, that fundamental style has been around at least since the 1930s, that Celtic knot tooling pattern appearing on the flap, and oftentimes the body, here in 1938 (#55)



    and here are various manifestations of it from various makers and various periods attesting to its long-term popularity.



    Here's the Ebay sporran in question. I will say I prefer to the appearance of the sewn-in flap with leather binding as seen above, however on vintage sporrans I've noticed that the binding often starts coming loose.

    The fold-over flap seen below has more long-term durability and makes reaching into the sporran a bit easier.

    (The eagle-eyed will note that the lower-left sporran in the collage above is also by Nicoll Brothers Bankfoot.)

    Last edited by OC Richard; 3rd September 22 at 05:41 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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  9. #566
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jock Scot View Post
    Well alright, individual perceptions will differ and perceptions across the Atlantic may differ even more. That is a rather inconvenient fact of life on occasion.

    .
    I think the above covers the situation perfectly.
    " 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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  11. #567
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    Perhaps just a tad 'vaudeville-ish'.
    Rev'd Father Bill White: Retired Parish Priest & Elementary Headmaster, lover of God, people (most of them!) dogs, joy, humour & clarity. Legion Padre, theologian, teacher, philosopher, linguist, traditionalist, bon-vivant, encourager of hearts & souls & a firm believer in dignity, decency, & duty. A proud Canadian Sinclair.

  12. #568
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    For much less than the price of one Janet Eagleton sporran, you get two, plus a possible William Scott (Edinburgh) sporran, and what I think are four Pakistani ones.

    A lot of 7 for $140.

    The style isn't my cup of tea, modern "semi-dress" black leather Day sporrans with Evening Dress tassels.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/30463533096...tion=10%7C3000
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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  14. #569
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    A lovely Nicoll Bros (Bankfoot) grey seal Evening sporran with the pierced "EW3" cantle.

    Seemingly in perfect condition, at a great price.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/18559213696...tion=10%7C3000

    Interesting to compare two EW3 (pierced Celtic knots, three bosses) sporrans, one from W E Scott (Edinburgh) and the Nicoll Bros (Bankfoot) currently on Ebay.

    Nicoll Bros used both standard cantles and styles perhaps unique to them. Their EW4 cantle (Celtic knot, three bosses) and EW3 cantle (the same, but pierced knots) had the knots directly on a flat cantle front, while the cantle used by W E Scott and several other makers (presumably made by D&N Birmingham) had elongated pointy knots within borders.

    Note also that while both makers appear to use same cast side bosses, the central boss is smaller and flatter on Nicoll Bros cantles.

    You can also see the wide round W E Scott sporran body in contrast to the narrow somewhat straight-sided Nicoll Bros sporran body.

    Last edited by OC Richard; Today at 04:23 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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