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
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.
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.