Monday, April 6, 2015

It's National Tartan Day!

Today, April 6th is National Tartan Day, a day for Scottish Americans to celebrate their history and contributions to the USA. Did you know that the Declaration of Independence was modeled after the Declaration of Arbroath?  The Declaration of Arbroath, the declaration of Scottish independence, was signed on April 6, 1320 after Scottish barons and earls sent a letter to Pope John XXII to assert Scotland's status as an independent state.  According to Scotland's National Records, the letter, or declaration, also asked the pontiff to recognize Robert the Bruce as the country's lawful king.

In 1998 the US Senate passed a resolution declaring today National Tartan Day, "whereas this resolution honors the major role that Scottish Americans played in the founding of this nation, such as the fact that almost half of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were of Scottish descent, the governors in nine of the original 13 States were of Scottish ancestry, Scottish Americans successfully helped shape this country in its formative years and guide this nation through its most troubled times."

From my personal transferware collection, I thought I'd share a few images of my Tartan transferware plates and favorite interiors decked out in Tartan or plaid.  The plate in the two photos below is entitled "Caledonian": the Latin name given by the Romans to land in Scotland.  Today the name is mostly used as an historical description of Northern Britain or a poetic or romantic name for Scotland.  It was made circa 1836-42 by Ridgway, Morley, Wear & Co.  The green is enameled over the brown transfer printed plaid pattern.  I have them in purple as well and they're some of my favorite pieces as they have a little sentimental meaning to me as well because I've got both Scottish and English heritage.  

   This one is on the office mantle (notice the plaid wallpaper and puppy painting with the bagpipes and Tartan shawl, and a few books from my collection of Clan history books).

The same patterned plate, along with some other transferware pieces, is in the family room.  

Each Scottish Clan has their own Tartan.

My family (Robinson) are part of the Gunn Clann

Shawn also has Scottish heritage and his family (Clements) are part of the Lamont Clann, so our kiddos have Scottish on both sides.

Tartan is actually a pattern of interlocking stripes running both horizontal and vertical and is mistakenly known as plaid.   Plaid, according to the Scottish Tartans Museum,  comes from the Gaelic word for blanket and is specifically used in the context of Highland dress to refer to a long length of material.  Originally the kilt was known as the belted plaid which consisted of basically a large blanket that was gathered and belted at the waist.  Plaids were most often made from a tartan cloth, so the confusion between the two is understandable.  In fact, I'm sometimes still a little confused.  haha

Tartan designs originally had no symbolic meaning and cloths made of the patterns can be dated to about 3000 BC.    Where there was woven cloth, Tartan patterns were created and yet it is only Scotland that cultural significance is associated with them.  Tartan became so extremely popular in Scottish Highland culture that by the 17th century it was characteristic of Highland dress.  It was so identifiable with the Highland Gael that in 1746 the British government forbade the wearing of Tartan in the Highlands; an attempt to suppress the rebellious Scottish culture.

Have a piece of cake,

pull up a seat 

and enjoy all of these wonderful Tartan and Plaid interior images from my Pinterest board Insanely Mad About Plaid.

Am I driving you plaid yet?

Happy National Tartan Day!

Charm of Home
A Stroll Thru Life
French COuntry Cottage


  1. A very exciting post, I love all the Tartan in your photos!!!

  2. I am of the Greenlaw sept of the Home clan. Happy Tartan Day!

  3. Nancy, this is one of the best posts! I learned a lot, and your images are fabulous. I'm crushing over your tartan transfer plates. I'm happy to know about this pattern. Thanks for sharing this post today. Happy Tartan Day! ~ Sarah

  4. Love the history lesson, very all the tartans and plaids too......

  5. Love your post and photos of Tartans- I am mad for plaid myself. Happy Tartan Day!

  6. Love this....hubby's family sports a beautiful Royal blue tartan...clan Elliott...of the highlands. Sheil

  7. Interesting history. Love all the photos!

  8. what a beautiful way to show off your heritage love all the plaid
    come see us at

  9. My great-grandmother, mother of my maternal grandfather, was a Ramsay and proud of her heritage (though she also was french-canadian). And while there might only be a little bit of the blood in my line (as I also am italian) I have alwasy been in love with Tartan and now I know why. While researching my family line through my mother's father, I also found out more about my great grandmother Anna Ramsay and her family line. And their Tartan happens to be one of be my favorites! Love our tartan transfer plates!!!

  10. My family has tartans as well but I forget which ones at this time. One from my side and one from my hubby's side. I always find it so interesting to learn the history of things. Thank you for partying at my place Nancy! Have a great rest of the week.

  11. These are gorgeous images, Nancy. Thanks so much for sharing. Our family has deep Celtic roots, and my brother was a piper for many (40+) years. . .so I LOVE that cake! LOL! I'm going to have to pin a few of these. . .and follow you on Pinterest. Missed some of your recent posts, so I'll have to go back and check.

  12. I loved learning the history and the pictures are beautiful :)

  13. what an interesting post that was, full of interesting information and lovely pictures.. I shall be back to read more.. I just wanted to ask if you knew the name of the artist of that second picture. Its a little girl sewing, and I have a smaller copy, framed, but cannot see any artist name, and would love to know if you do know? It is such a gorgeous work of art, its a shame for it to have no name... Meanwhile I have started to follow you, so I shall be back again soon.. hugs from across the pond, spring is starting here too thank goodness**

  14. Oh Nancy your bed is awesome! Thanks for joining Home Sweet Home!

  15. Gorgeous photos! I love tartan, plaids and old Scottish decor. I live in Scotland, but I am not myself Scottish though. I found your lovely blog because I've been trying to get my hands on this painting with puppies you talk about. The ones with bagpipes and tartan shawl. Can you tell me who painted it? I want a reproduction! Many thanks

  16. I love every one of these images and I think I have them pinned on a board too.
    What a perfect tribute to Tartan Day, Nancy!


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