Fictional Characters

Heroes, tragic characters, and beloved characters of legend and lore have been given tartan tributes.

Click any picture to navigate to the page of interest for more information about this tartan or its associated day.

Puccini's Madama Butterfly

Feb 8
Opera Day

Black, white and red represent the traditional colours of the Geisha, black for the hair, white for the powdered skin and red for the painted lips (the solid red pivot importantly symbolising the blood of Butterfly's suicidal death strike).The two shades of pink with the muted khaki green represent withering cherry blossom (in Japanese culture the transient nature of cherry blossom is richly symbolic, the intense beauty and abrupt death, being associated with mortality).

Dennis' 70th Birthday

Mar 17
debut of "Dennis the Menace"

by designer Clare Campbell

"My Dear Watson ... Elementary"

May 22
Sherlock Holmes Day

Designed by Carol A.L. Martin, the tartan is a playful visual pun of elementary colours - red, yellow and blue, taken from the classic phrase of Sherlock Holmes to Dr. Watson.

Sherlock Holmes

May 22
Sherlock Holmes Day

The creator of Sherlock Holmes was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who was born in Scotland with Irish ancestry, hence the blue and green in the tartan. The lighter blue with the brown edging represents the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland, the gold strip to show that Sherlock Holmes was one of the leading detectives of London.

Robin Hood

Aug 3
Robin Hood Days

Registered as Robin Hood/Wilson no.224/Rob Roy Hunting - this pattern was registered in 1819 by Wilsons of Bannockburn, a weaving firm founded c1770 near Stirling. The Pattern books are in the National Museum of Antiquities, Edinburgh.

Ivanhoe

Aug 15
Sir Walter Scott's Birthday

The Ivanhoe tartan, by Carol A.L. Martin, was inspired "by the novel by the same name by Sir Walter Scott about a knight in Saxon England in 1194 - a rather dark period of history." ​

Merrilees

Aug 15
Sir Walter Scott's Birthday

An inversion of the Dress MacPherson (Stuart Davidson). Was being produced in 1829 as a fashion tartan named 'Meg Merrilies' after Sir Walter Scott's fictional gypsy character in 'Guy Mannering' (written in 1815).Over time and in the absence of anything else, it has come to be regarded as the tartan for that family name

Telfer, Jamie of the Fair Dodhead

Aug 15
Sir Walter Scott's Birthday

By designer Blair Urquhart, the tartan colours evolved from the Telfer tartan (green) and also include representations of the costs of conflict (red), the recovery of Jamie's livelihood (gold), as well as the surrounding landscape of Ettrick and Teviotdale.

Bat Clan (Batman Comics)

Sep 21
World Batman Day

Designed by ZenMonkee as "the tartan that Gotham deserves" with colour inspirations from Batman, the city of Gotham, and colour nods to Robin, Batgirl, and Catwoman.

The Broons (DC Thomson)

Dec 10
The Broons Family Christmas

Tartan design by Brian Wilton

Grim of Helsingland

Dec 21
The Season of Yule

by designer Mikael Öst

Peter Pan

Dec 27
Publication of Peter and Wendy

Designed by Lochcarron for the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children. J.M.Barrie donated all the rights to Peter Pan to the Hospital in 1929, confirmed in his will in 1937. The royalties go to the Hospital to support its work

Madama Butterfly

Feb 8
Opera Day

Puccini's great opera tells the tragic story of Butterfly, a young Japanese geisha girl, who falls in love with the American Lieutenant Pinkerton, in a story set in nineteenth century Japan.

Dennis and Gnasher

Mar 17
debut of "Dennis the Menace"

Comic strip character Dennis revels in doing naughty or mischievous things and is at odds with his parents, the local police, his neighbours and the "softies" of his neighbourhood. Supposedly, the idea and name of the character came from a British music hall song with the chorus "I'm Dennis the Menace from Venice".

Sherlock Holmes

May 22
Sherlock Holmes Day

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the Sherlock Holmes stories, born this day, May 22, 1892, has said that the famous detective was originally inspired by Joseph Bell, a surgeon at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh for whom Doyle had worked as an assistant. Like Holmes, Bell was famous for his ability to draw broad conclusions from minute observations.

Sherlock Holmes

May 22
Sherlock Holmes Day

Doyle’s first Sherlock Holmes story first appeared in print in 1887 and continued to be published for the next forty years, until shortly before the author’s death. During this time, the detective had countless adventures, usually accompanied by his loyal friend and assistant, Dr. Watson. ​

Robin Hood

Aug 3
Robin Hood Days

Robin Hood is a heroic outlaw in English folklore who, according to legend, was a highly skilled archer and swordsman. Traditionally depicted as being dressed in Lincoln green, he is often portrayed as "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor" alongside his band of Merry Men. Robin Hood became a popular folk figure in the late-medieval period, and continues to be widely represented in literature, films and television.

The Queen of the Tournament: Ivanhoe

Aug 15
Sir Walter Scott's Birthday

Ivanhoe, by Sir Walter Scott was first published in 1820 in three volumes and subtitled "A Romance," is set in 12th century England, and has been credited for increasing interest in romance and medievalism.

Meg Merrilies and the Laird of Ellangowan

Aug 15
Sir Walter Scott's Birthday

Guy Mannering or The Astrologer is a novel by Sir Walter Scott, published anonymously in 1815. Meg Merrilees, a wild-looking, strident gypsy woman, figures prominently in the plot.

Jamie Telfer of the Fair Dodhead

Aug 15
Sir Walter Scott's Birthday

In a Border Reivers ballad, recorded by Sir Walter Scott and others, Jamie Telfer is about a poor farmer whose livelihood is threatened by English raiders and only averted by timely intervention of neighbouring clans, but not without losses to his valiant helpers. Painting: Jamie Telfer of the Fair Dodhead (painting by Sheila Mullen, 1998)

The Dark Knight

Sep 21
World Batman Day

Batman first appeared in Detective Comics #27 in 1939. Originally named the "Bat-Man," the character is also referred to by such epithets as the Caped Crusader, the Dark Knight, and the World's Greatest Detective.

The Broons

Dec 10
The Broons Family Christmas

The Broons is a comic strip in Scots first published in the weekly Scottish newspaper The Sunday Post in 1936. It features the Brown family, who live in a tenement flat at 10 Glebe Street inthe fictional Scottish town of Auchentogle or Auchenshoogle.

The Wild Hunt of Odin

Dec 21
The Season of Yule

Grim is another name for Oden or Odin, in Old Norse Óðinn, a god from the Scandinavian Viking mythology. Helsingland is an old spelling of Hälsingland a landscape/region in the middle of Sweden. Many place names in Britain reflect the influence of Norse mythology.

Moonlight Over Pirate's Cove

Dec 27
Publication of Peter and Wendy

Peter Pan is a character created by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie. A mischievous boy who can fly and never grows up, Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood having adventures on the small island of Neverland as the leader of his gang, the Lost Boys, interacting with mermaids, Native Americans, fairies, pirates, and occasionally ordinary children from the world outside Neverland.