Spence Modern tartan – poster
The rebel cloth
Scotland is known for many things, like whisky, music, the occasional culinary item and so much more. However, when it comes to design nothing says 'Scotland' like a tartan. Even though the cloth was banned for decades following the Jacobite uprising of 1745, it has since gone on to become a symbol of the nation.
Cringe no more
While many see the rich cultural heritage of tartan as twee or parochial, and others bemoan it as a 19th Century invention, designers all over the world have taken inspiration from these woven wonders. The origins of what we now call tartan stretches back thousands of years. Known globally as a Scottish fabric, it is linked locally to the land and people all across the country. It's about time that we celebrated this most colourful of cloths.
About those colours
While the 'sett' or design of each tartan is unique, the colour palette can be varied. The typical tartan is called 'modern', which refers to the richly coloured chemical dyes that revolutionised the production of tartan in the 19th century. In the early 20th century, designers began to draw on a less glaring palette in an attempt to emulate early natural dyes. These tartans are called 'ancient'. A few decades later saw the discovery of buried Jacobite tartans, whose colours had been altered by their time in peat bogs. This gave rise to the colours of 'weathered' tartans. Lastly, there are 'muted' tartans, whose colours are more or less a muted version of modern.
About this tartan
This is the modern variant of Spence tartan. An unknown designer created it in 1816. It is Scottish Register of Tartans #3860 and is also known as Spens tartan.
Composed primarily of a large section of the tartan, the pattern will repeat depending on the size of the sett. Each line of thread is carefully drawn to replicate the tartan and is shown alongside a block palette of the colours used.
- Paper size A3, 297x420mm
- 350gsm smooth white board
- Printed in Scotland on FSC® Mixed Sources paper