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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobus View Post
    figheadair, can you tell me more about that tartan? I love the colour palette. Your photo name seems to suggest it is an unknown tartan, but also says Clan Stewart. Is this actually a clan tartan, or just an old unnamed tartan?
    There are a number pieces of the original plaid extant, the largest being in the NMS collection. The photo is of the STA's specimen which it inherited from the Scottish Tartans Society's collection. I remember it being donated by the Stewart of Ardvorlich (Loch Earn) in whose family it had been for many years. They always referred to it as the Clan Stewart tartan on account of their ownership but did not know when or from where they acquired it.

    I have not had time to ask the NMS where their piece came from but it would not surprise me if it was from the Carmicheal Collection and thus possibly from the West Coast but I cannot be sure as yet. A lovely piece nonetheless whatever it's origins.

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  3. #42
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    24th September 04
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    Victoria, BC Canada 48 25' 47.31"N 123 20' 4.59" W
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    If we go back to the original topic of this thread it was this -

    I've heard from several different sources that before the invention of modern dyes pre-Culloden highlanders would use natural dyes (obviously, no modern dyes) from plants and their surroundings to get a very natural and earthy color to their tartans. They would use this as camouflage while sleeping ing the brush, hunting, or hiding from the British.
    I would like to point out that this idea that it was Tartan that was used as camouflage is perhaps incorrect.

    Here is the quote from George Buchanan's work "History of Scotland" published in 1581 that is often used as the source of this idea.

    Their ancestors wore plaids of many colours, and numbers still retain this custom but the majority now in their dress prefer a dark
    brown, imitating nearly the leaves of the heather, that when lying upon the heath in the day, they may not be discovered by the
    appearance of their clothes
    ; in these wrapped rather than covered, they brave the severest storms in the open air, and sometimes
    lay themselves down to sleep even in the midst of snow.
    I have added the bold to point out that it was dark brown and not Tartan that was used as camouflage.
    Steve Ashton
    Forum Owner

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  5. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Ashton View Post
    Their ancestors wore plaids of many colours, and numbers still retain this custom but the majority now in their dress prefer a dark
    brown, imitating nearly the leaves of the heather, that when lying upon the heath in the day, they may not be discovered by the
    appearance of their clothes; in these wrapped rather than covered, they brave the severest storms in the open air, and sometimes
    lay themselves down to sleep even in the midst of snow.
    This figures heavily into my SCA costuming project....although I doubt my concept will be "correct enough" for some folks there...lol...never is.

  6. #44
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    Looking at it from a different perspective...

    Much of this conversation seems to focus on how plaid fabrics, in earth tones were used/became popular because they were good camouflage for hunting or military purposes, not being seen by deer or the British or other clans. Having worn camo for both occupation and avocation I think that we are looking at it from the wrong perspective. I seriously doubt that people would purposely pick dull colors for their daily wear. The fact that some of the color palates found in tartans were also good for camouflage is coincidental, not intentional. They would use the plaids that were brown/gray/green/blue when they needed to be less conspicuous in the field and wear something else when it wasn't needed.

    Of course, for those who could not afford multiple sets of clothing they may have picked earth tones, in plaids for solid colored fabric, because they may have been less expensive or showed dirt and wear less than brighter colors.

    Larry
    The hielan' man he wears the kilt, even when it's snowin';
    He kens na where the wind comes frae, But he kens fine where its goin'.

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  8. #45
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    The point however is - that by 1581, or 165 years before Culloden, when Buchanan published the book that is most often used to prove that Tartan was worn as camo, points out that by that time, blankets (plaids) of many colors were no longer the most common sight.

    "the majority now in their dress prefer a dark brown"
    Last edited by Steve Ashton; Yesterday at 03:31 PM.
    Steve Ashton
    Forum Owner

  9. #46
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    Interesting point, Steve. I think some people may be misinterpreting the text. They may be assuming that he is talking about brown tartans, but that's not what he said. It does indeed sound like he is speaking of solid brown cloth, not a multi-coloured tartan pattern.

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  11. #47
    Join Date
    18th July 07
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    For the benefit of Latin scholars, Buchanan (1581) actually said "Verum plures nunc magis fuscas, et ericae frondes maxime imitantes... " and "fuscas" just means "dark coloured". Bishop Leslie, on the other hand said (1578) that their clothing was "ad bellum in primis accomodatae, non ad ornatum faciebant" (i.e. meant for war not ornament) but that "nobiles variegatis sibi magis placebant" (i.e.the nobles preferred variegated colours)
    The well-known picture of a Highlander painted by Lucas de Heere in the 1570s certainly shows no tartan but the mantle is not exactly "dark coloured"!
    https://i.pinimg.com/originals/16/f2...3ae874b628.jpg

    Alan

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