In 1747, in the harsh aftermath of the Battle of Culloden, British authorities banned the wearing of the tartan –and imposed other penalties on acts which, in the aftermath of Culloden hinted of Scottish nationalism.
Over thirty years later, on July 1st, 1782, the Proscription Act was repealed and Scots could once again display their tartans.
(Whether the Plaid was a complete unknown in Scotland in the thirty plus years between Proscription and Repeal is a question for another day. In the aftermath of the Repeal of Proscription the Scots were certainly quick to re-adopt the wearing of the Tartan.)
The new “legality” of tartan reignited the Scots’ passion for tartan. Interestingly it also ignited a passion for tartan in the English.
Thus, anyone who loves tartan today owes a (fashion) debt to Queen Victoria, her uncle, George the IV, and the Sobieski-Stuart brothers. The Sobieski-Stuart brothers, a determined pair of Stuart pretenders to the throne who were beloved by the fashionable set in Scotland in the early decades of the 19th century, in a very real way re-invented (or simply invented) Clan Tartans in the 1820s, ’30s and ’40s. They wrote –from quasi whole-cloth– the definitive book on Clan Tartans and were widely consulted in their day as experts by anyone looking for an “official” Clan Tartan.