"In this braw age o' wit and lear,
Will nane the Shepherd's whistle mair
Blaw sweetly in its native air,
And rural grace;
And, wi' the far-fam'd Grecian, share A rival place? "
~ Poem On Pastoral Poetry, Robert Burns, 1791
A coloured variation of the Border tartan (also known as Northumbrian tartan, Shepherds' Plaid, Border Drab, or Border check) this checkered tartan is a pattern historically associated with the Anglo-Scottish Border, including the Scottish Borders and Northumbria. The most identifiable Border tartan garment of the region is the maud (plaid), made popular by fashionable Border Scots such as Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, James Hogg, and Henry Scott Riddell.
The Burns Heritage Check was created in 1991 for the trustees of the Burns Monument. The design is almost identical to the original Burns Check of 1959.
This tartan is a coloured version of the Border tartan, sometimes known as Northumbrian tartan, Shepherds' Plaid or Border Drab, or Border check, and is a design used in woven fabrics historically associated with the Anglo-Scottish Border, including the Scottish Borders and Northumbria. Possibly the most identifiable Border tartan garment of the region is the maud (plaid), made popular from the 1820s by fashionable Border Scots such as Sir Walter Scott, James Hogg, Henry Scott Riddell and Robert Burns.
It is a matter of recorded fact that Robert Burns wore tartan. From a recollection of William Clark, servant of Robert Burns at Ellisland, near Dumfries, 1789-90:
"Burns when at home, usually wore a blue or drab long-tailed coat, corduroy breeches, dark-blue stockings, and cootikens, and in cold weather a black-and-white checked plaid."
In his poem "The Vision", written in 1786 when Burns was 27 years old, it is significant that he garbs his "native muse" in tartan.
"Down flowed her robe, a tartan sheen,
'till half a leg was scrimply seen..."
His muse is specific to Ayrshire -
"Of these am I - Coila my name:
and this district as mine I claim..."
For more on Robert Burns and tartan, click the illustration of Burns in his Border Check maud with his Highland Mary.