Clan Tartans

Tartan is a pattern consisting of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical bands in multiple colours. Tartans originated in woven wool, but now they are made in many other materials. Tartan is particularly associated with Scotland. Scottish kilts almost always have tartan patterns. Tartan is also known as plaid in North America, but in Scotland, a plaid is a tartan cloth slung over the shoulder, or a blanket.)

Tartan is made with alternating bands of coloured (pre-dyed) threads woven as both warp and weft at right angles to each other. The weft is woven in a simple twill, two over – two under the warp, advancing one thread each pass. This forms visible diagonal lines where different colours cross, which give the appearance of new colours blended from the original ones. The resulting blocks of colour repeat vertically and horizontally in a distinctive pattern of squares and lines known as a sett.

The Dress Act of 1746 attempted to bring the warrior clans under government control by banning the tartan and other aspects of Gaelic culture. When the law was repealed in 1782, it was no longer ordinary Highland dress, but was adopted instead as the symbolic national dress of Scotland.

Until the middle of the nineteenth century, the highland tartans were associated with regions or districts, rather than by any specific clan. This was because tartan designs were produced by local weavers for local tastes and would tend to make use of the natural dyes available in that area. The patterns were simply different regional checked-cloth patterns, where of the tartans most to one’s liking – in the same way as people nowadays choose what colours and patterns they prefer in their clothing. Thus, it was not until the mid-nineteenth century that specific tartans became associated with Scottish clans or Scottish families, or simply institutions who are (or wish to be seen as) associated in some way with a Scottish heritage

The National Archives of Scotland (NAS) is responsible for administering and running the Scottish Register of Tartans. NAS is an executive agency of the Scottish Government based in Edinburgh and is headed by the Keeper of the Records of Scotland.

Sources: Wikipedia on Tartan
Scottish Register of Tartans

Registered Davidson Tartans

Davidson Clan Tartan WR1332
Davidson 1332a
Tartan Date: 1/1/1842

D.C. Stewart calls this sett, 'the more recent Davidson' and the basis for the Henderson tartan. It was published by his father D.W. Stewart in 1893, in a beautifully illustrated book, 'Old and Rare Scottish Tartans', in which each sample was woven in silk. This version omits the white stripe of earlier setts recorded in the Highland Society of London collection and the Moy Hall collection. Uniquely among tartans, there is a 'Half' Davidson and a 'Double' Davidson. The former being simply a reduced pattern.
Davidson of Tulloch WR1364
Davidson 1364a
D.W. Stewart writing in his book, 'Old and Rare Scottish Tartans', calls this the oldest of the Davidson tartans.

T Smibert records this version in 'The Clans of the Scottish Highlands', 1850 as does McIan, but with the red and white transposed.
Davidson of Tulloch (blue) WR1360
Davidson of Tulloch 1360
Tartan date: 1/1/1880

Early 19th Century tartan in Highland Society of London records. Now designated 'of Tulloch' and sometimes called 'Davidson of Tulloch blue'.
Davidson Wedding Personal WR2576
Davidson 2576a
Tartan date: 1/1/1998

Designed for a wedding dress by Donald and Fiona Fraser.