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February 11, 2024

Oldest known Scottish tartan 'brought back to life' for people to wear

1904 copy

[Designer Emma Wilkinson and Scottish Tartans Authority expert Peter E. Macdonald with the original and recreation.]

From the Guardian:

Historians analysed dyes in the 16th-century Glen Affric tartan, found in a peat bog, to recreate the true colours

The oldest known piece of tartan ever found, which was discovered in a peat bog, has been recreated by experts.

Uncovered about 40 years ago in a bog in Glen Affric in the Highlands, the tartan underwent rigorous testing last year to confirm it was the oldest surviving piece of the traditional patterned cloth.

The Glen Affric tartan dates from 1500 to 1600, the Scottish Tartans Authority confirmed. It went on to be exhibited at the V&A Dundee.

It has now been recreated for people to wear by a manufacturer and distributor of tartan fabrics, the House of Edgar, under the guidance of a tartan historian.

The tartan features the colours that dye analysis of the original material had confirmed — this included the use of green, yellow and red, which would have come from woad or indigo to create the green, along with other natural dyes.

Screenshot 2024-01-22 at 3.39.24 PM

[The original Glen Affric tartan laid on top of the newly recreated tartan.]

Emma Wilkinson, the designer for House of Edgar who worked on the project, commented: "I create new tartans every day but this project is truly special — a once in a lifetime opportunity to recreate a piece of history.

"Tartan is such an iconic piece of Scotland's identity and it has been a true pleasure to see this fabric come back to life to be enjoyed for generations to come."

The historian who guided the manufacturer in recreating the product, Peter E. MacDonald, who is head of research and collections at the Scottish Tartans Authority, said: "It was a privilege to examine the Glen Affric specimen, which represents an extraordinary survivor of our textile history.

"The dye analysis, carbon-14 dating and a detailed study of the piece, together with a collaboration with House of Edgar, has brought back to life a tartan that allows us to reach back in time and touch history.

"It is quite special to see the tartan remade as it could have been 500 years ago."

James Wylie, assistant curator at the V&A Dundee, said: “The Glen Affric tartan took the world by storm when it was revealed prior to the opening of V&A Dundee's Tartan exhibition and continued to be a major draw for many visitors over the past nine months.

"I am excited its legacy can now live on through the studious efforts of the Scottish Tartans Authority and House of Edgar in reinterpreting its design, for the enjoyment and interest of all who cherish tartan's historic allure."

February 11, 2024 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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This list is cumulative, begun many years ago and only occasionally supplemented by clever newcomers.

In alphabetical order:







Henge Docks


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Rain Design

Rolling Square




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February 11, 2024 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)


Screenshot 2023-12-30 at 10.48.13 AM

That's certainly one way of looking at things.

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February 11, 2024 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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