Robert Burns

Tam o' Shanter - A Tale of its First Publication by Bill Dawson

A video of the lecture delivered as part of the 2020 Tamfest -

Burns Check - Baron Georges Marchand

Baron Georges Marchand was born in Dunkirk and first came to Scotland in 1910 as a French and German correspondent to the firm of George Harrison & Co. (Edinburgh) Ltd, the woollen merchants. Baron Marchand became a traveller, representing the firm in Holland for some years and eventually became senior partner. He was an admirer of Burns and wrote poetry and music. To mark the bicentenary of the birth of Robert Burns, his firm designed a Burns check cloth.

The Burns Check is based on the Shepherd tartan - the oldest known plaid design. The original shepherds (those who looked after sheep ) needed warm clothing to do their job and so, made 'plaids' from the wool of their sheep, in a simple black and white pattern. These hardy Lowlanders subsequently took the surname 'Shepherd' and kept the plaid pattern as their own. The green and brown were subsequently added, to represent Robert Burns' connection to the land, by George Harrison & Co. Edinburgh. The design was accepted in June 1959 by the "Burns Federation" who were to receive a small commission on the sale of the design: a condition being that the goods should be made in Scotland, and thus the Burns Check Tartan was born. (From "Our Scottish District Checks" by E.S. Harrison, Edinburgh, 1968.)