Scottish Tartans Resources

Old & Rare Scottish Tartans - 1893

D. W. Stewart

Donald William Stewart was involved in the firm Romanes & Patersons, a tartan dealer on Princes Street in Edinburgh. Stewart’s Old & Rare Scottish Tartans was published in 1893. It is historically signifigant in that, rather than being about clans and merely illustrated with tartans, his book was about tartan itself. He includes forty-five designs, chosen because of their particular age or their rarity (as the title implies). What is perhaps most innovative about this book is that it was illustrated by means of mounting actual specimens of the tartans, woven in silk, and therefore was able to provide an exact record of the sett pattern. In having the silk specimens woven, Stewart took great care to match the colors to those of the original samples of tartan he was using. Though in a few cases the color was later shown to be somewhat off, in general this method was a success.

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