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  1. #1
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    Caledonia/MacPherson/Kidd/155/43??

    Talk about going down the rabbit-hole...

    An hour ago I saw a vintage kilt on Ebay said to be Royal Stewart. It obviously wasn't. I thought it was Caledonia.

    But when I checked the Ebay kilt against two tartan books I found that the tartan-books agreed that the Ebay kilt was not Caledonia.

    So then I Googled "Caledonia tartan" and all the images that came up matched the Ebay kilt! So why is the tartan that everyone is selling as Caledonia different than the tartan my two tartan-books say is Caledonia?

    Here are the two tartans



    I'm sure Peter has addressed this issue here or elsewhere, but variously-worded Google searches turned up nothing. (As I've mentioned I can't use the Search function on this site, all I get is an error message.)

    Without Peter's 1819 Pattern Book to hand (my copy is out on loan) Googling turned up a number of similar tartans woven by Wilson's of Bannockburn including

    #43
    #155

    #43 (above right) was nicknamed Kidd due to quantities of it being sold to a customer of that name, but was re-named MacPherson for the 1822 Royal visit. It's this tartan that the two tartan-books I grabbed this morning (Setts, and District Tartans) illustrates as Caledonia.

    #155 (above left) is the nameless Wilson's tartan which is now sold as Caledonia. I read that it was Robert Bain who put forward the Caledonia title for #155, and indeed my copy of Bain's book illustrates #155 as Caledonia. (My copy is from 1976; the book has gone through numerous editions since first being published in 1938, so I don't know which edition was the first to illustrate #155 as Caledonia.)

    I read online that there exists Wilson's correspondence from 1818 concerning #155 but I can't seem to access it.

    Hopefully Peter will chime in and get this mess sorted!

    (I will say that a Holy Grail kilt for me would be #155 in Wilson's colours, heavyweight, in a large sett-size.)
    Last edited by OC Richard; 13th March 21 at 06:10 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

  2. The Following 2 Users say 'Aye' to OC Richard For This Useful Post:


  3. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC Richard View Post
    Talk about going down the rabbit-hole...

    #43 (above right) was nicknamed Kidd due to quantities of it being sold to a customer of that name, but was re-named MacPherson for the 1822 Royal visit. It's this tartan that the two tartan-books I grabbed this morning (Setts, and District Tartans) illustrates as Caledonia.

    #155 (above left) is the nameless Wilson's tartan which is now sold as Caledonia. I read that it was Robert Bain who put forward the Caledonia title for #155, and indeed my copy of Bain's book illustrates #155 as Caledonia. (My copy is from 1976; the book has gone through numerous editions since first being published in 1938, so I don't know which edition was the first to illustrate #155 as Caledonia.)

    I read online that there exists Wilson's correspondence from 1818 concerning #155 but I can't seem to access it.

    Hopefully Peter will chime in and get this mess sorted!

    (I will say that a Holy Grail kilt for me would be #155 in Wilson's colours, heavyweight, in a large sett-size.)

    Richard,

    Oh dear, the Caledonia rabbit-hole. Alas, it's even more confusing.

    Leaving aside an entry in the 1819 Key Pattern Book for the MacKintosh tartan as Caledonia, there are three of Wilsons' numbered settings that have been called Caledonia:

    No.3 or Caledonia.

    No.43, Kidd, or Caledonia (now Macpherson).

    No.155. Jamie Scarlett asserted that Wilsons' No 155 was never been named, and that Miss Margaret MacDougall was in error when she included it in Robert Bain's 'Clans and Tartans of Scotland' (1953) as Caledonia. That may be the case but it is regularly sold as Caledonia today.

    There were also several other numbered patterns in the 1819 KPB that share characteristics with these three. In fact, all, together with the MacDuff and its derivative setts, are based on the Prince Charles Edward setting of the Royal Stewart.

    I agree, other the three, No.155 is the more pleasing setting to my eye.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Wilsons' Nos 3, 43 & 155.jpg 
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    By way of comparison, here is c1800 a large setting of No.43.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Wilsons' No.jpg 
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    Last edited by figheadair; 15th March 21 at 07:58 AM.

  4. #3
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    Thanks! I knew you would have it sorted.

    What specifically draws my eye in, with #155, is the wide plain red stripe in the middle of the two blue stripes (which have fine black lines).

    I think that is what makes #155 more attractive to me, that and the fact that it's less busy. It relies on elegant proportions rather than complexity.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by figheadair View Post
    No.155. Jamie Scarlett asserted that Wilsons' No 155 was never been named, and that Miss Margaret MacDougall was in error when she included it in Robert Bain's 'Clans and Tartans of Scotland' (1953) as Caledonia. That may be the case but it is regularly sold as Caledonia today.
    I checked my research notes and found I have a picture of specimen of No.155 labelled 'Caledonia' in a c1830-40 book of Wilsons' specimens. That would suggest that Wilsons were selling it as Caledonia by that date. So, clearly Scarlett's statement was wrong.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Caledonia c1830-40.jpg 
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  6. #5
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    Thanks!

    As an aside to you mentioning the connexion between these tartans and PCES, it's interesting that my Pipe Band wears PCES and another local band, Mesa Caledonian, wears Bruce Of Kinnaird. (Mesa, Arizona is near Phoenix.)

    For a quarter-century this band wore Bruce of Kinnaird in Ancient Colours. A couple years ago they switched to Modern Colours and at the first Highland Games both bands attended I was surprised to see the similarity between Bruce of Kinnaird and PCES.

    Their old Bruce of Kinnaird kilts.



    Their new Bruce of Kinnaird kilts.



    My band's PCES kilts.

    Last edited by OC Richard; 16th March 21 at 08:33 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC Richard View Post
    For a quarter-century this band wore Bruce of Kinnaird in Ancient Colours. A couple years ago they switched to Modern Colours and at the first Highland Games both bands attended I was surprised to see the similarity between Bruce of Kinnaird and PCES.
    Ah yes, Bruce of Kinnaird, and also the Dundee tartan, both Wilsons' designed and both based on the PCES.

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