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"Jacobite unit building" Topic

12 Posts

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831 hits since 31 May 2018
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MiniPigs31 May 2018 12:25 p.m. PST

Being no expert, wanted to ask if within a given Jacobite unit, the plaids would be the same or would they be random?

I know some clans were big enough to have their own tartan throughout like the "Rob Roy" tartan worn by Lord Ogilvy's unit but want a little expertise about whether tartans are all the same clan (but perhaps different setts) within a unit or quite varied?

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP31 May 2018 1:22 p.m. PST

Consensus these days is that there were no clan setts prior to the Government Sett (Black Watch) post-1745.

Mind you, I'm sure a number of wargamers have used later clan setts anachronistically, but it should be done on purpose and not through ignorance.

Winston Smith31 May 2018 2:11 p.m. PST

There were no official clan plaids or setts.
Those are a product of the tourist trade and the Sobieski Brothers around 1830.

Here's the most famous painting of Culloden, almost contemporary with the actual battle.


Not a single person matches another, even with separate patterns for coat, kilt and waistcoat.

Wherethestreetshavnoname31 May 2018 2:18 p.m. PST

I blame Walter Scott.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP31 May 2018 3:56 p.m. PST

Yes, clan tartans as we know them were invented by the Sobieski-Sutarts.

Woven plaids are quite appropriate, but none that are particular to any clan. Folks buying their cloth from the same local weaver may well have some pieces that were done in the same pattern of whatever was set up on the loom.

And yes, the general dressing custom appears to be that 'any tartan goes with any other tartan'!

MiniPigs31 May 2018 3:59 p.m. PST


I believe you mean "Sir" Walter Scott :)

Roderick Robertson Fezian01 Jun 2018 10:13 a.m. PST

You can get some uniformity by figuring that a particular clan would have access to limited dyes, so a limited color palate on the same background should do you. So: "Red with green and yellow", Red with white and dark blue", etc. My tartans are done with three or four colors total.

Many tartans are too complicated to get onto a figure, so you're really just going for effect, rather than a direct representation.

Winston Smith01 Jun 2018 1:16 p.m. PST

There is some slight information that one area had bluish patterns, others had reddish.
But I only read that once.
I go by the Culloden painting, with dudes wearing reddish, greenish and bluish at the same time.

Strangely, that just adds a degree of difficulty. "Anything goes" takes a lot of extra work.

Winston Smith01 Jun 2018 3:01 p.m. PST

Let's try this, for an actual picture.

Gone Fishing02 Jun 2018 7:55 a.m. PST

Though it isn't evident in the painting Winston linked to, I read somewhere that one of the most common tartans at the time was a simple red and black pattern (the so-called Rob Roy tartan link it is seen in many portraits of the 17th early 18th centuries.

spontoon05 Jun 2018 1:26 p.m. PST

"District" tartans were more common. In other words, what colours were available outside Wee Angus McWeaver's door. The bright colours made with more expensive dyes from abroad were the sort of thing the Laird might commission for a wedding suit!

MiniPigs07 Jun 2018 9:02 a.m. PST

Really? That's funny, the Scots have been known for colorful dyeing for centuries. Everyone used to have cashmere sent there to be refined, dyed and woven to the highest standard. The idea that the Scottish produced coarse, backwards fabrics is erroneous.

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