The Anderson tartan is unique: it is the only tartan to have
seven colours (all others have six or less).
Tartans are believed to reflect the natural colours of the
region they come from. Rather like a secret recipe, these
colours were originally known only to the skilled weavers
with their local knowledge.
The Anderson colours are primarily a rich blue with yellow,
green and red in the plaid; white, black and navy are also
Three main variations exist:
• Ancient colours,
derived from authentic, natural dyes
of 'Ancient' Anderson showing a predominantly green
base but colours do vary enormously
• Modern colours, derived from the use of
modern chemical dyes
||This example of the 'Modern'
Anderson shows the strong dominant blues which has made
this variant popular in recent times
Muted colours which simulate a “weathered” tartan.
is the 'Weathered' Anderson tartan and is a sample of
the heavy-weght Strome material of Brian's kilt and plaid
The function of tartan
There is much debate about the role and significance of a tartan.
One authority claims that a tartan was the badge
of a region. Anyone from that region, irrespective of their
wear the tartan. Variants developed to reflect family origins.
Another theory is that tartan was a distinction
of rank. A tartan with just one colour signified you were a
tartan with seven meant you were a chief. As the Anderson tartan
is the only one with seven colours, we find this a compelling
You can find out more about tartan by going to
our page of useful links.