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Anderson Tartan

The Anderson tartan is unique: it is the only tartan to have seven colours (all others have six or less).

The colours
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 present.

Three main variations exist:

• Ancient colours, derived from authentic, natural dyes

An example 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.

This variant 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 family, could 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 peasant. 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 theory.

You can find out more about tartan by going to our page of useful links.