Aug 15

Sir Walter Scott's Birthday

Sir Walter Scott
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Sir Walter Scott in Rhymer's Glen
Sir Edwin Henry Landseer (1802-1873)
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"Teach your children poetry; it opens the mind, lends grace to wisdom and makes the heroic virtues hereditary." Sir Walter Scott

This tartan, designed by Sir Walter Scott himself in 1822, was said to have been worn by himself in the form of a Lowland shepherd's plaid.

August 15th is the birthday of famed novelist, Sir Walter Scott,  1st Baronet,  (15 August 1771 – 21 September 1832), Scottish historical novelist, playwright and poet.

Scott's popularity has waxed and waned over the years as tastes turned from romanticism to realism. However, his importance as an innovator is now recognized and he is now acclaimed as a major inventor of the genre of the modern historical novel.   Scott's Waverley novels played a significant part in the movement of rehabilitating the public perception of the Scottish Highlands and its culture, which had been formally suppressed as barbaric, and viewed in the southern mind as a breeding ground of bandits, religious fanaticism, and Jacobite rebellions.

Scott's novels were certainly influential in the making of the Victorian craze for all things Scottish among British royalty, who were anxious to claim legitimacy through their tenuous historical connection with the royal house of Stuart.

Many of his works remain classics of both English-language literature and of Scottish literature. Familiar works include IvanhoeRob RoyOld MortalityThe Lady of the LakeWaverleyThe Heart of Midlothian and The Bride of Lammermoor,  which has been translated into film, theater, ballet, and opera.  

As Scott's fame grew, his explorations and interpretations of Scottish history and society captured popular imagination. Impressed by this, the Prince Regent (the future George IV) gave Scott permission to conduct a search for the Crown Jewels ("Honours of Scotland").


During the years of the Protectorate under Cromwell the Crown Jewels had been hidden away and were then stored in Edinburgh Castle, but the large locked box in which they were stored had not been opened for more than 100 years.  Stories circulated that they had been "lost" or removed. In 1818, Scott and a small team of military men opened the box, and "unearthed" the honours from the Crown Room in the depths of Edinburgh Castle. A grateful Prince Regent granted Scott the title of baronet, Sir Walter Scott, in March 1820.

According to the official tartan register records, this tartan (published in 1850) and was produced for his own use by Sir Walter Scott in 1822, and that he wore it in private, in the form of a Lowland shepherd's plaid.

For more about his life and legacy, click the painting of Sir Walter Scott (in his shepherd's plaid) in the Rhymer's Glen, by Sir Edwin Henry Landseer.  Rhymer's Glen was an area of picturesque woodland much loved by Sir Walter Scott on his Abbotsford estate. 

Officially registered tartan graphics on this site courtesy of The Scottish Tartans Authority.  Other tartans from talented tartan artists may also be featured.

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