Tales of Tartan – Volume 1

16 April 2023

We are excited to announce a very special event to celebrate tartan and its connections to Bannockburn House!

On June 25th we will be hosting talks by world-renowned experts in tartan and historical dress, Peter MacDonald and Rebecca Olds. To kick off this fantastic event we will be releasing a blog in four installments. For our first episode, please join us in warmly welcoming our special guest speakers! Tickets are available through the events section of our website.

Image of Peter MacDonald

Peter MacDonald

Peter Eslea MacDonald is an internationally recognised Tartan Historian. He has been studying and researching tartan for the past 40 years and is the leading authority on 18th and early 19th-century patterns and techniques, particularly those of the weaving firm William Wilson & Son (1765-1926). He is a self-taught hand-weaver with some 30 years of experience and has demonstrated and lectured widely, including in the USA, Canada, Japan, Korea, and New Zealand. Over the years has woven hundreds of yards of tartan, recreating traditional techniques such as herringbone selvedges, off-set patterns and working in traditional natural dyes.  Peter had the privilege of weaving a length of material in the Prince Charles Edward tartan that was used to make the Princes William and Harry’s first kilts. More recently, Peter organised recreations of a late 18th-century specimen of that pattern for HRH The Prince Charles and the Duke of Rothesay tartan, both of which are often worn by the Prince.  His research has uncovered a number of historically important relics associated with the Jacobite Rising in 1745. Current research projects include: a study of tartans associated with Flora MacDonald; traditional selvedge techniques; and the development of regional patterns in the 18th century.  He is the honorary Head of Research & Collections for the Scottish Tartans Authority, a technical and historical advisor to the Scottish Register of Tartans, Consultant to the National Museums Scotland (2019 “Wild and Majestic” exhibition and other bespoke projects), Consultant to the V&A Dundee (2023 exhibition ‘Tartan’), author of The 1819 Key Pattern Book – One Hundred Original Tartans, and has authored numerous research papers on historical tartans and tartan artefacts.  He has been a guest lecturer at numerous Highland Games in Scotland and North America, given tartan advice to film/television/radio/print media, and designed tartans for The Edinburgh Tattoo, British Airways, and the Army Medical Services.  You can find more information about Peter and his contact information at his website here:  Scottish Tartans Peter MacDonald’s LinkedIn


Rebecca Olds

Rebecca Olds

Rebecca Olds is a freelance dress historian and consultant at Timesmith Dress History.  She advocates ‘learning through reconstruction’ as a research methodology by which dress historians can test their understanding of historical cut and construction techniques. She is currently researching women’s clothing in 18th-century Scotland with a focus on the trade skills of female garment makers.  Rebecca is currently studying at the University of Glasgow in the Dress & Textile Histories (MLitt) program.  She also holds an Advanced Diploma in Local History (Hons) from the University of Oxford and a BA in Law from the Open University.   In addition to public speaking and research, she partners with public sector programs and teaches historical sewing techniques and garment construction.  Her professional activities have included partnering with the National Museums Scotland & Inverness Museum and Art Gallery starting in 2018-2019 for the ‘Isabella Project’; and in 2021 she collaborated with Museums and Heritage Highland to co-create an online costume exhibition with her focus being a presentation of two 18th-century silk gowns.  She has also had the unique experience of working in a living history museum at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s Tailor Shop which gave her valuable insights into the development of public programs and practising a historic fashion trade.  Her current professional affiliations include the Association of Dress Historians, Member of The Costume Society (UK), Costume Society of Scotland, the British Society for Eighteenth-century Studies, The Costume Society of America, Dress and Textile Specialists (DATS), Royal Historical Society, the Women’s History Network, Women’s History Scotland, the British Association for Local History and the Scottish Local History Forum, and the 1745 Association.  You can find more information about Rebecca and her contact information at her website here:  Timesmith  Rebecca Olds’ LinkedIn  Timesmith’s YouTube

 Please check back on May 5th for the latest instalment of the Tales of Tartan blog. The second instalment of Tales of Tartan Volume 2 can be found here 

Images shared with permission from respective owners

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