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Author Topic: Yet another tartan question  (Read 1118 times)
d_Guy
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« on: 09 February 2019, 06:51:40 PM »

Etymology aside, let’s assume tartan to mean a cloth material with vertical and horizontal stripes (of one or more colors different from the background)

Using 1500 as a starting point, when would you start adding bits of tartan to your Scottish figures?

Examples: for my Flodden Scots perhaps one in twenty have a (green stuff) folded blanket added which is painted to suggest a two tone proto-tartan. Prehapes one in fifteen of my 1641 Covenanters have the same with a bit more color and variety.

Apparently the first contemporary illustration that actually shows tartan is from the mid 1590s. We have lots of knowledgeable people here and many who have grown up and/or live in Scotland. Opinions would be most welcome.

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jimduncanuk
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« Reply #1 on: 09 February 2019, 07:18:27 PM »

I started wearing the kilt regularly, when I retired.

That makes it about 2009, does that help?
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Ithoriel
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« Reply #2 on: 09 February 2019, 07:41:31 PM »

The tartan style material found in Urumchi in the Tarim Basin dates to around 2000BCE.

Fragments of similarly patterned cloth have been found in Scotland dating back to at least the 3rd and 4th centuries CE.

So called "Clan" tartans may be an invention of the 18th century but tartan patterns were in use for centuries before that, though their use would be more regional and personal preference based than showing any affiliation. The latter being shown in the fabric flash or other field sign worn in your headgear, apparently.
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Leman
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« Reply #3 on: 09 February 2019, 09:35:20 PM »

That’ll be the 3rd and 4th centuries AD then.
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d_Guy
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« Reply #4 on: 09 February 2019, 09:47:51 PM »

I started wearing the kilt regularly, when I retired.

That makes it about 2009, does that help?

It helps me understand your sartorial proclivities, Jim!  Smiley
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Ithoriel
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« Reply #5 on: 09 February 2019, 09:52:11 PM »

That’ll be the 3rd and 4th centuries AD then.

Or AUC 950-1150 Smiley
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SV52
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« Reply #6 on: 09 February 2019, 10:04:50 PM »

Etymology aside, let’s assume tartan to mean a cloth material with vertical and horizontal stripes (of one or more colors different from the background)

Using 1500 as a starting point, when would you start adding bits of tartan to your Scottish figures?

Examples: for my Flodden Scots perhaps one in twenty have a (green stuff) folded blanket added which is painted to suggest a two tone proto-tartan. Prehapes one in fifteen of my 1641 Covenanters have the same with a bit more color and variety.

Apparently the first contemporary illustration that actually shows tartan is from the mid 1590s. We have lots of knowledgeable people here and many who have grown up and/or live in Scotland. Opinions would be most welcome.


Kind of answered your own question really, as 'tartan' is simply a Gaelic word for the patterned material.  Tartan doesn't mean the modern 'clan tartans' which didn't appear in their modern form until 19th century. The exception is the 'government sett' which appeared maybe 1725 - 1733 worn by the independent companies with General Wade.

Early materials likely had a local pattern and weave using natural dyestuffs available in the locale (coastal would have access to different colours than inland). The use of checked and striped materials is ages old among the 'Celtic' peoples of Western Europe.  So really you could paint them any way you like; if you want to give each group a distinctive colour I would feel free as noone could say with absolute certainty you were wrong.

Need to exercise care when using 'Covenanter'.  The Covenanters were those who signed the National Covenant in 1638 and maintained a somewhat militant attitude thereafter, it does not mean the forces of the Scottish government or 'The Three Estates' as the Scottish parliament was known up until about 1690 and comprised church, nobility and burgesses.  The Covenant was an oath to defend the Presbyterian Kirk of Scotland against all comers.

I'm a Lowland Scot so in 17th century I wouldn't have worn tartan or any kind of Highland garb, simple hodden in grey or whatever was available and a blue bonnet,  Likely have signed the Covenant as a presbyterian.

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« Last Edit: 09 February 2019, 10:12:23 PM by SV52 » Logged

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Raider4
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« Reply #7 on: 09 February 2019, 10:07:16 PM »

Definitely by 1297. Proof.
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Ithoriel
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« Reply #8 on: 09 February 2019, 10:15:53 PM »

That looks more 297 meets Mad Max to me raider Smiley
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jimduncanuk
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« Reply #9 on: 09 February 2019, 10:29:03 PM »


It helps me understand your sartorial proclivities, Jim!  Smiley


Always worn as a true Scotsman.
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Terry37
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« Reply #10 on: 10 February 2019, 04:13:07 AM »

I've been researching just how pattered the garb for Lord Atholl's Highland Regiment at Derry should be depicted, so this is an interesting subject to me. I agree with everything SV52 said. I would consider mainly drab colors of grays and browns/tans, with maybe a bit of red or green here and there. But definitely avoid anything like a modern tartan as they did not exist back then. I feel that bold stripes ,maybe some cross striping of one, two or three colors at most would be the best way to go. I also don't see a clan all wearing the same pattern as it was not mass produced but most likely home spun.

SV52 - My heritage is the McNicholson, but not sure if it is Highland or Lowland. Also a bit of Comanche thrown in the mix as well. One from each side of the family. I wear my McNicholson tie every Pentecost Sunday to church! Trust me, with my legs you do NOT want to see me in a kilt!!!!

This is the way I am going for my Jacobite army of James II.

Terry
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d_Guy
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« Reply #11 on: 10 February 2019, 04:47:11 PM »

The tartan style material found in Urumchi in the Tarim Basin dates to around 2000BCE.
Thanks for this reference. I had seen it once before but forgot to save a link. Lots of different patterns but a few look like modern tartan with five or six colors. Adding Barber’s book to my collection.

Fragments of similarly patterned cloth have been found in Scotland dating back to at least the 3rd and 4th centuries CE.
Yes these, along with various European examples, are what I have been calling (in my own little world) “proto-tartan” - two color, occasionally three, with clear verticals and horizontals.
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d_Guy
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« Reply #12 on: 10 February 2019, 05:29:05 PM »

Early materials likely had a local pattern and weave using natural dyestuffs available in the locale (coastal would have access to different colours than inland). The use of checked and striped materials is ages old among the 'Celtic' peoples of Western Europe.  So really you could paint them any way you like; if you want to give each group a distinctive colour I would feel free as noone could say with absolute certainty you were wrong.
I think that is a good summation of what I call (as above), “proto-tartan”. I think your advice about painting them is completely sane and is where things should stand for anyone doing these particular figures.

Need to exercise care when using 'Covenanter'.  The Covenanters were those who signed the National Covenant in 1638 and maintained a somewhat militant attitude thereafter, it does not mean the forces of the Scottish government or 'The Three Estates' as the Scottish parliament was known up until about 1690 and comprised church, nobility and burgesses.  The Covenant was an oath to defend the Presbyterian Kirk of Scotland against all comers.
This would be worth sitting down over beverages of choice and discussing.  Smiley  Agree that “Covenanter” is at its base meaning “one who signed the national covenant” (and various  manifestations of same). Yet it was adopted by the Scottish parliament as a law of the land and even signed by Charles I in 1641. If I understand correctly at that point everyone was required to sign it. The Covenanters were the ruling party in parliament (by a super majority) at least until the Engager - Kirk split in 1647-8. As such I would argue that “Covenanter” was synonymous with “Government”. As we both know in popular and wargaming circles, Covenanter is the collective name applied.

I believe in many ways the Covenanter movement, which certainly was given form by the Kirk and was driven by the defense of Presbyterianism, was also a national and popular movement and was not limited to the Lowlands (or prehapes even Scotland, as would be implied by the intent of the Solemn League and Covenant). Likely most (or maybe even all), who served in the army (or in the fencibles) had signed the national covenant by 1641.

Not trying to pick a fight or frustrate you further, SV52. I admire both your work and your posts.
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d_Guy
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« Reply #13 on: 10 February 2019, 05:44:51 PM »

I appreciate all the replies and the humor provided by Jim and Raider4!  Thumbs up

“Tartan” on any forum is one of those words that brings forth many opinions.
The question I really want answered is “For those doing Scots and Irish figures between 1500 and 1700, when, if ever, do you add tartan elements to your painting?”
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« Reply #14 on: 10 February 2019, 06:36:41 PM »

Where are those piccies of tartan paint that we've had on the forum before ?  Wink

Cheers - Phil
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