Hunting Tartans

The idea of a darker pattern being required for outdoor wear, so that its wearer would stand out less clearly on the open hillside, is again Victorian in origin. It is possible that the demand arose because of the very harsh colours of the early synthetic dyes. In most cases the hunting tartans were made, like dress tartans, by another change in the ground colour with, for example, a red ground becoming either brown, blue or green.

The desired effect was for camouflage or practicality. The special concept of hunting was related to the development of highland estates for use by the gentry and some chiefs themselves, in late Victorian times. The hunting tartans must then have carried considerable class symbolism to a wider market.