Our Clan has several variations of tartan. Each with its own history and association. The main two we use are 'Rose' and 'Rose Hunting', but there are other variations such as 'Rose of Kilravock' (which needs further research at this time) and 'Rose Dress White' which is more for ladies dance costumes. Other variations can be to have the aforementioned Rose tartans made in more weathered or lighter looking colors that get called “Ancient”. The idea behind the “ancient” designation, is to depict a tartan as it would appear if made using natural plant dies instead of crisper more modern colors. Another variation is the make a tartan “muted”, which causes the colors to be less intense in some way (example: Rose Modern when muted goes from a brighter shade of red to a deep burgundy, the green becomes a lighter shade, and the darker blue becomes lighter.)
While clan specific tartans mostly came about in the 19th century with George the IV's visit to Scotland causing a revival in the wearing of Highland dress and Clan/ Family specific tartans, it is hard to imagine a time when these lovely bits of cloth were not so well defined or regulated. Currently an agency records existing tartans and the creation of new tartans. This agency is the Scottish Register of Tartans, which was preceded two early institutions; those being, the Scottish Tartans Authority, and Scottish Tartans World Register.
This tartan is considered to be a formal or dress tartan that first appears in print around 1840, but the tartan's connection to Clan Rose may date to the 1820's, based on a written inquiry and request for an example of the Clan tartan. In the Vestiarium Scoticum there are actually two variations of this tartan. One variation came from the printed image (what we know as the tartan today) and the other from the sett description
As far as documentation, this tartan actually appears about a decade before the Red Rose tartan, with a date of 1831. Given that old post cards and illustrations about the clan show the Hunting Tartan as our Clan Tartan, it is very probable, given the dates and illustrations that this tartan is the more senior of the two. Our Hunting Tartan is very special, not just to our Clan but also a wonderful bunch of fighting men with their own proud heritage and traditions. We are fortunate to share our Modern Hunting tartan with Her Majesty's Royal Tank Regiment.
Rose Dress White