There are two Clan Arthur (MacArthur) tartan setts or patterns. The most commonly known sett dates from around 1842, black and green background with a single yellow line. Thread count: 64 Black, 12 Green, 24 Black, 60 Green, 6 Yellow, 60 Green, 24 Black, 12 Green, 64 Black. This design originates from the tartan revival period and may in fact be a historical copy error.
During recent research of his own family line, the late Chief of Clan Arthur, James Ewdard Moir MacArthur of that Ilk, rediscovered the Clan Arthur old sett from a family portrait dating from before 1815. This more ancient design shows a black and green background with a double yellow line. Thread count: 30 Black, 4 Green, 8 Black, 36 Green, 4 Yellow, 36 Green, 4 Yellow, 36 Green 8 Black, 4 Green, 30 Black. Further research has authenticated James’ discovery and today both MacArthur setts are recognised as the official cloths of the Clan.
As with most Clan tartans, there are two Clan Arthur colour schemes. Modern colours are derived from synthetic dyes and generally give darker more formal colours, whereas ancient colours are derived from natural dyes and result in a lighter more muted effect, which could also be regarded as being more authentic. Colours can also vary from weaver to weaver. Lochcarron's Clan Arthur tartan in ancient colours is a very pale, almost gray green, whereas Dagliesh's version of the same cloth uses a much brighter, almost grass green thread. Both mills’ modern Clan Arthur colours are near equally dark.
Clan Arthur 1850 (single line) sett is normally available from the weavers' stock in medium and heavy weights, ancient and modern colours, usually in double width. Clan Arthur 1815 (double line) sett is only available to order. Both Clan Arthur setts and colours are also available in silk, but this material is very expensive. All these materials and some garments (ties, sashes, scarves, blankets, etc) are available from House of Arthur, delivery can vary dependant on choice of cloth. To obtain a quotation, please supply the following information:
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3,000 Year Old Tartan
Until recently, historians have promoted the concept that the Scottish tartan plaid developed over the last few hundred years. However, recently several 3,000 – 4,000 year old mummies were discovered buried in the deserts of Northern China and Southern Mongolia. These Caucasian people were up to six feet tall, had red hair and, in some instances, wore plaid (or tartan) woven from European wool! This certainly suggests that our National Dress has a much deeper reaching history than anyone could believe up till now.