20th Century

The Modern Recording of Tartan

The start of the 20th century saw the first definitive clan tartan lists in books, devoted primarily to clans and their tartans.

Books on Clans

Based upon an earlier work by Whyte, the Tartans of the Clans and Septs of Scotland by W. and A.K. Johnston emerged in 1906, with contributions from a number of authors, to join the swelling ranks of handbooks to Scottish Clans. The colour illustrations remained a problem, as also were the inevitable errors and differences that different lists might include. In 1908 Frank Adams launched his Clans, Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands, a work that, with a James Logan tartan list, lived on into the 1960s.

New Tartans

The concerns of the previous century had created many recordings of tartan patterns and whilst new lists were printed from time to time, the growth area was new tartan designs that used the power of the modern woven cloth to create very attractive designs for garments and other goods.

The Lyon's Office

The Lord Lyon, King of Arms, regulates Heraldry in Scotland. Sir Thomas of Learney, the Lord Lyon, published The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland in 1938. By this time, the heraldry of the Scottish Chiefs was controlled by statute and a number of clan and family tartans became officially recognised in the Lyon's Court Book, and this was a useful way to "register" new clan tartans, though it was not a tartan register.