Traditional and Contemporary kilts sewn to order
The original sample in the 1750 sample book
There are thousands of named tartans, thousands more woven without a name, and quite possibly just as many to be discovered in old boxes and trunks, and every now and again old sample books surprise with a random cutting which captures the imagination.
Back in the mid 1700’s a rather colourful character from Manchester ended up fighting for the Jacobites and the Young Pretender, and after a series of events including jail and escaping through a hole in the wall, fleeing to Flanders and onwards to France, supporting Bonnie Prince Charlie and ending up acting as a manufacturers agent, a spy, a chemist, a government trade advisor, and subsequently setting up textile mills in Rouen, and ultimately elevated to the French Aristocracy and even rubbing shoulders with Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin: in short the stuff of Hollywood epics, and much more involved than this brief excerpt. At some point during all these adventures John Holker managed several thriving cotton mills and left at least one excellent bound book of working samples in the 1750’s .
One of these swatches was of a very unusual 9 colour tartan in strong and wonderful colours , incidentally all naturally dyed, which caught my attention and fostered a desire to see it woven once again.
Very few commercial weavers are able, or even prepared to weave a 9 colour design, and then the challenge was to find suitable colours of yarn that will work well together. With any historic re weaving there are always compromises, many things can’t be exactly replicated over 250 years later but a sense of the character and feeling is important to catch.
I am happy to offer this tartan, after over a year of sample threads and test prints - hopefully capturing the spirit of the original. It's seldom possible to achieve a perfect match as 250 years later many things have changed, but I hope that it is a sympathetic rendering.
With any existing tartan it's hard to create a new meaningful name, but it was listed as 115 in the pattern book, so I'm going to continue with that and offer it as The 115 tartan.
My especial thanks to Peter MacDonald for first showing it and for working on the thread count
This will be a rather special and exclusive tartan, perfect for a taste of the past and the intrigue of the spy and adventurerer, I'm seeking interest at the moment before commissioning the weave, so please use the contact form below to let me know if you would like to have some of this great tartan
Woven in Scotland, single width approx 30”/80 cm in heavyweight 16oz pure new wool with a good true selvedge which is a little unusual and highly sought after by aficionados. Once the order is placed there is normally about a 12 week wait for the cloth to be woven, please be patient, this is a very special tartan, for kilts a deposit is taken and the balance is due on completion, other items are paid proforma, once the items are ready for despatch a second invoice will be raised for postage as this varies considerably around the world
Currently out of stock. but please contact me for future availabilty
however there might be some small items in stock
Some of the many thread samples and test prints