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Discover the beauty of our Scottish Turkey red collection through this collaborative project between National Museums Scotland and the School of History, Classics and Archaeology, University of Edinburgh.

‘Turkey red’ is a complex dyeing process developed in the Eastern Mediterranean. Introduced to Scotland in 1785, the production of Turkey red textiles became a major industry in the west, particularly during the mid- to late-19th century. At National Museums Scotland we have a stunning collection of fabric samples and pattern books from the Turkey red factories in the Vale of Leven. See examples of the beautiful textiles produced and find out more about the history of the Turkey red industry here.

Turkey red pattern

About Colouring the Nation

Discover more about Colouring the Nation: Turkey Red and Other Decorative Textiles in Scotland’s Culture and Global Impact, 1800 to Present.
Turkey red pattern


Turkey red dyeing and printing was a major industry in the west of Scotland in the nineteenth century. Compared with tartan, however, it is little known and studied. This project redresses the balance.

Printing methods up close

See examples of Turkey red textiles in amazing close-up detail and see the different printing methods used.

Colouring the Nation is supported by

The University of EdinburghRoyal Society of EdinburghThe Scottish Government
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