A broad band of fashionable tartan velvet ribbon decorates the hem, hood and front opening of this woman’s cloak. The multi-coloured silk fringe, knotted onto lace, tones in with the colour and symmetry of the woven stripes creating a charming border. There was a craze for Highland dress at this time, and tartan was frequently used to trim bonnets and mantles as well as cover entire dresses and shawls.
Queen Victoria’s love of Scotland, her purchase of Balmoral castle in 1852 and its rebuilding did a lot to encourage the fashion for tartans. She filled the new castle with it. There were carpets in Royal Stewart, chairs and sofas were covered in Dress Stewart poplin, and even the carriage draperies were made of tartan. Variants of the Royal Stewart tartan included one called Victoria, and the Prince Consort designed a sett (pattern) known as the Balmoral.