Tartan Drape


here are four patterns of tartan that are authorized by MacCailein Mor, Chief of Clan Campbell. Campbells and septs of Breadalbane, Cawdor and Loudoun may wear their respective tartans, but all members of Clan Campbell may wear the plain blue, green and black Campbell sett, sold by the mills as "Ancient Campbell," a lighter shade of Black Watch.

   Dress Campbell" and "Campbell of Argyll" are sold by the mills, but are not authorized by the Campbell Chief. The Chief of a clan is the final authority of what constitutes a clan tartan . However, the mills and vendors choose to ignore this, and continue to sell the unauthorized Campbell tartans. The 12th MacCailein Mor, father of our current clan Chief, clearly addressed this topic. He stated that he was "quite happy" to have clan members wear these non-authorized tartans if they had already purchased them, but asked that people confine themselves to buying authorized tartans in the future.   Dress Campbell was a creation of a Canadian who ordered a full bolt of the pattern. Mills subsequently took the opportunity to market it. The Campbell of Argyll pattern does have a Campbell connection. The 6th Duke of Argyll was persuaded to wear it as the tartan of the ducal family, unlike his predecessors and successors, all of whom wore the plain Campbell sett, which is identical to Black Watch, only in a lighter shade.
   Those of you who have purchased the unauthorized tartans should bear in mind that clan tartans have only been in existence since the early 1800s, and came about as a result of a scam perpetrated by two brothers.
   These brothers were known as the Sobieski Stuarts. Rumored to be descendants Breadalbane by MacIanof "Bonnie Prince Charlie," they were never known to state it themselves, but let some of their friends spread that rumor. This was clearly false. Charles Edward Stuart's mother was a Sobieska, so where the name Sobieski arose can only be conjectured. The brothers were feted throughout Scotland.
   They convinced many that they held an ancient manuscript, the Vestiarium Scoticum, showing clan tartans. While many questioned their claim, others were taken in by the charade. This sham established clan tartans, now a tradition after 150 years!
   Prior to the establishment of clan tartans, clansmen wore whatever tartan was generally available in their area: a sprig of a plant worn in the bonnet announced clan affiliation. In the case of Clan Campbell, Bog Myrtle, and sometimes Fir Club Moss, was worn.

   Whatever tartan you have, wear it with pride!


Click to see the four authorized Campbell tartans

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