Colouring the Nation

The Turkey Red Printed Cotton Industry in Scotland C.1840-1940

By Stana Nenadic, Sally Tuckett

Format: Paperback

'Turkey red' was a dyeing process that produced a fast, washable shade of red that was overprinted with exotic patterns and sold throughout the world. In its day, the industry employed thousands of workers in the west of Scotland.

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National Museums of Scotland Enterprises - Publishing

NMS publishes a wide variety of books relating to history, culture, natural science etc and museum exhibitions.

Product Description


Colouring the Nation is a collaborative project between National Museums Scotland and the School of History, Classics and Archaeology, University of Edinburgh. By looking at decorative textiles manufacture, its aim was to show that Scotland's industrial past was not just in heavy industry but that it played a key role in the production of colourful and fashionable fabrics for the overseas market. 'Turkey red' was a dyeing process that produced a fast and washable shade of red that was overprinted with exotic patterns and sold internationally, from North American and the West Indies, to India and China. The fabrics were made for clothing - such as saris, shawls and bandanas - and for furnishing. When synthetic dyes replaced the natural madder-based Turkey red the industry in Scotland collapsed. An archive of 200 pattern books and approximately 40,000 textile samples was acquired in 1960 by National Museums Scotland. See the online exhibition: This book tells the history of the industry and shows examples of these gorgeous fabrics.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Format Paperback
Imprint National Museums of Scotland Enterprises - Publishing
Publication Date 14 Nov 2013
ISBN 9781905267804
Number of Pages 160

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Press Reviews

' ... it's a fascinating and accessible read, and provides a wonderful legacy of Scotland's Turkey red textile industry.' The Quilter 'At last, we, the nation of Scotland, have a publication that does just service to the nearly forgotten heritage of our important global contribution to the phenomenon of Turkey red fabric.' Turkey Red Journal 'The book makes an important contribution to our understanding of the [Turkey red] industry and is well worth reading in its own right. Undiscovered Scotland

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