The Over Check - Continued

If the off-centre stripes are of a different colour, then they can run next to the central over check in two main ways. Firstly, if narrow, they can highlight the central stripe and, with a light colour, black is often run either side to form a guarded over check. Such guard bands are to be seen in many Black Watch variants to highlight the variations, as with Murray of Atholl.

Another option is to place the central over check within a small apparent under check, as is done in the Drummond to great effect. Taken to the extreme, the Montgomerie uses both guarding and, effectively, a triple stripe upon a plain ground, with "no" under check.

These devices can produce more complex, double tramlines as in the Campbell and Stewart of Atholl or they can start to act upon their under check to break it up. The most common way to break up an under check is with a colour of the other under check so as to give the illusion of a single background or ground colour.

Stripes beside the pivot will divide the under check into three, a design technique brought to the fore in the Vestiarium Scoticum. Hamilton, MacGregor, Forbes and Monroe use this three stripe device.


 If the central stripe is introduced, and the undercheck remains split into equal parts, then a four-stripe design results. Examples are Cameron, MacIntyre, MacKay, and Fraser Hunting.

Over Checks from the Edges

Over checks can be introduced from the edges of the under checks.

The simplest, two-colour checks can create a double illusion where the pattern appears alternately as one under check within the other. This has been termed a counter-change pattern and examples are MacPhee and Macmillan. The secret is that the edging over check, in the same colour as the other under check, can be seen as both an extension of the other check and a "hole" in the current under check. By correct proportioning, the design encourages this visual ambiguity.

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