From Proscription to the Romantic Period

From 1746 until 1782, there were laws with severe penalties for the wearing of Highland Dress unless in military service in a highland regiment or a member of the gentry loyal to the Hanovarian cause. This period therefore saw the development of the Military or Regimental Tartans, possibly based on previous designs but generally derived from the Black Watch or government tartan.

William Wilson and Sons

The main supplier of military tartan was William Wilson and Sons, and they became the first commercial weavers around 1770, having a virtual monopoly. It is in their pattern books of 1819 and 1847 that many of today's tartan patterns, in their earliest known form, came to be recorded.

After proscription, "true" patterns were sought amongst the surviving handloom producers and woven samples. The naming of these could involve a clan or district name, but was often a customer's name, a weaver's name or other quirky alternative.