22 September, 2015

"Blackwatch Tartan - Then and Now . . . "

 James Norton - looking resplendent in a Blackwatch Tartan 
dinner jacket from Hackett on London.


When one thinks of classic Scottish tartans - the ever-present Blackwatch pattern almost always springs to mind.  But, it's history could be considered a bit more English than it is Scottish. 

Just after the Jacobite uprising in 1715 - the English government was having a hard time keeping those rowdy Scottish in line. And they were also having an issue with keeping a standing army in Scotland to keep those aforementioned rowdy Scotsmen in line.  

So "The Night Watch" was created.  

Therefore, Independent Highland Companies(of what would be known as the "Black Watch") 
were raised as a militia in 1725 by General George Wade to keep "watch" for crime. 
He was commissioned to build a network of roads to help in the task. 
The six Independent Highland Companies were recruited from local clans, 
with one company coming from Clan Munro, one from Clan Fraser, one from Clan Grant, 
and three from Clan Campbell. These companies were commonly known as 
Am Freiceadan Dubh, or the Black Watch, this name may well have been 
due to the way they dressed. Four more companies were added in 
1739 to make a total of ten Independent Highland Companies.

 In 1793 George III asked the Duke of Argyll to raise a regiment. Argyll delegated that 
task to Duncan Campbell of Lochnell and in July of the following year the 98th 
Argyllshire Highlanders (later 91st) were founded. Lochnell garbed the regiment 
in the tartan which the Campbells by then thought of as their own 
- the Government Tartan.
In 1800 Major-General William Wemyss (a cousin of the Countess Elizabeth) raised 
the 93rd Sutherland Highlanders. The regimental tartan, though called "Sutherland" 
was in reality the Government Tartan (as confirmed by Wilson's records).
The Government Tartan was worn widely by Highland military units and it became 
the basis of regimental tartans such as the Seaforth Highlanders (with red and white 
over stripes), the Gordon Highlanders (with yellow over stripes), and a number 
of Fencible regiments. It is believed that the adoption of these patterns as 
Clan Tartans by, for example, MacKenzies, Gordons, Grants, 
Munros and Sutherlands, arose from the military association.

When I was first researching tartans for my own collection of textiles for Scot Meacham Wood Home - I knew I had to include Blackwatch as part of the mix.  In many ways, I've always thought of this classic pattern as a neutral - because it works with everything . . . . 

100% Wool - milled in Scotland  

 SMWH's marvelous new 

The ever-lovely Kate - in an Alexander McQueen Blackwatch coat. 

from SMW Home

 SMWH's Pair of pillows featuring

Another classic Blactwatch Tartan dinner jacket -
this time from Gant.

and a VERY sneak preview of
SMWH's Inverness Tufted Sofa in Blackwatch Tartan
(launching later this Fall!) 



NotesFromAbroad said...

I rarely get to brag about this but I am taking the opportunity now :)
My family has a Tartan .. green and black , very similar to the Black Watch Tartan.
My mothers family - Scotland .. insane MacRoberts clan.

Karena Albert said...

James Norton and then Kate did it for me Scot, now we need another image of you in this historic Plaid! That cashmere throw looks so luxurious!

The Arts by Karena
Painting Central Park

Merlin said...

Black Watch is the new....GO TO!!! franki

David Fuller said...

Oh these images will be on TheFullerView swiftly. I do love the taste of Ginger from time to time. So exotically white.

Carol said...

Love tartans. My family one is the Keith tartan. I'm already in love with that sofa, just from the sneak peek!

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