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Stories from House of Tartan
Scotch Suits


This article resulted of an email from James Taylor from Oregon, USA to Maxine Scott at the House of Tartan.

Anns a'Ghaidhlig: Saor-duine Seamus macSheamuis 'ic Dhaibhaidh, mac an tailleur. (In the Gaelic; James son of James, son of David, son of the tailor. Anns a'Bheurla (in the English): Freeman James Taylor. You can use either one. The English version is my given name, but my grandmother and grandfather used the Gaelic version. I answer to either!

My question revolved around a set of a child's Highland wear, seemingly Victorian.  Any idea which tartan, and what is the approximate value of this lovely little kit? (Kilt, hose, sporran, vest, jacket, glengarry - see photos below.) The sporran seems to be silver, and the back of the buttons appear to read "patented 1861"

I don't think it is for sale at this point - just looking to get an approximate value, and identify the clan or family sett.

Below is an early photograph of a typical boy’s outfit from Victorian era

Maxine Scott writes:

The tartan in the kilt image is the Menzies Black and White. The costume is most likely Victorian. The Lady's Newspaper of 1852 states, "the costume worn by the Prince of Wales when at Balmoral had set the fashion of adapting the complete Highland costume."

'Scotch' suits were worn from 1850 to the 1870s, but less frequently after that. In the 1860s a boy's suit might reflect the true Scottish costume: 'a waistcoat and jacket of velvet with a kilt of tartan poplin, plus scarf, brooch, sporran and Glengarry cap, if the jacket is of cloth, then woollen plaid is used for the kilt.' (Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine, 1867).

But some very quaint travesties of Scottish dress were considered ideal for boys, and there was a profusion of 'Young Highlanders' wherever European fashion was followed, especially in America.

By Victorian times, dress sporrans of horse and goat hair were common, though useless in their original function. As for the value of the costume I would be unable to assist you with this and recommend that you take this to an appraiser as without actually seeing the condition of the outfit it would be difficult to assess it

*This from Peter MacDonald re: the sett of the child's Highland costume:

On Thursday, Jul 3, 2003, at 10:19 US/Pacific, Peter wrote:

> A' Sheumais,
>
> Interesting indeed.  It is certainly similar to the Black and White
> Menzies but is not quite it. In fact, the Scottish Tartans Authority has no
> record of this amongst their 5000 odd patterns so its one more for the Db.
>
> I would concur that it is Victorian and would guestimate it to be
> c1860-80.
> Difficult to put a value on it without seeing the actual thing and
> knowing something of its history, and thereby whether there is
> anything that would up the value. Some hundreds of
> pounds certainly if auctioned.
>
> Padraig
>
> Peter MacDonald

Any one with any information or can add to the details about the outfit please email info@houseoftartan.co.uk


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