School of History, Classics & Archaeology

Colouring the Nation goes live

An online exhibition of colourful fabrics from the Scottish ‘Turkey red’ textile industry has gone live.

The exhibition is part of a project funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Scottish Government.

Fabric from project

Showcasing ‘Turkey red’ textiles

Turkey red was a method of dyeing which came from the East. It was resistant to sunlight and washing, producing a bright, fast colour.

Favoured by textile firms in the Vale of Leven, Turkey red was used to produce plain cotton cloths as well as elaborately printed textiles which were sold as far afield as India, the West Indies, Africa and North America.

The industry sustained extensive employment in Dunbartonshire until the mid-20th century.

Collaborative project

The Colouring the Nation exhibition is the result of a collaborative project by the School of History, Classics and Archaeology and the National Museum of Scotland, which is hosting the exhibition.

Over 500 high resolution images of patterns in the Museum’s Collection are included, as well as contextual essays by the project‘s Principal Investigator Dr Stana Nenadic and Post-doctoral Researcher Dr Sally Tuckett.

‘Loud and peculiar,’ a lecture about Scottish Turkey red textiles, is now available through iTunes in the Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies podcast series and a book to accompany the exhibition will follow soon.

See it, hear it, find out more