Clan Gunn tartan and the 'Vestiarium Scoticum'
In Mark Rugg Gunn's history on page 152 he writes -
In 1842 a book called Vestiarium Scoticum' was published.... The authenticity of this work has been much disputed, and in the main it appears to be a mixture of truth and imagination.... However, whatever the true value of the work may be it illustrates 75 tartans amongst which is that of the Clan Gunn...'
But let's consider modern views of that text -
D. C. Stewart would later go on to author, with J. C. Thompson, Scotland's Forged Tartans, published in 1980. This book is a critical examination of the Vestiarium Scoticum and the historical claims of the Stuart brothers. The undeniable conclusion of the authors is that the work is a hoax. This position is universally held by tartan scholars today....
And more importantly from the official Scottish tartan authority --
The Vestiarium was seized upon by Clan Chiefs and the weaving industry with equal fervour. Very few thought seriously to question the claims and it wasn't until almost 140 years later that an analytical study of the book was undertaken. The conclusion was that talented and ingenious though they were, the Sobieskis had perpetrated a fascinating and monumental hoax upon a gullible society and the vast majority of 'old' clan tartans came only from the fertile imagination of Charles the illustrator. The book jacket for that analytical study by D C Stewart and J C Thompson entitled Scotland's Forged Tartans says: "Despite the misgivings of a few, but potent, authorities, these tartans were eagerly accepted by a public desperate to wear its "authentic" clan tartans and a trade equally desperate to sell them and they have remained with us, highly respected and totally unauthenticated. . . . beyond all doubt, the Vestiarium and its background material are complete forgeries."
"Complete forgeries" may be a little strong because it's possible that some of the 75 tartans may have been based on historical samples that the Sobieskis came across.
Mark Rugg Gunn was inclined, by implication, to give the benefit of his doubt to the Vestiarium Scoticum as it suited his argument. Modern historians would suggest that all the tartans illustrated in the text may be of questionable historic worth.
For a fuller discussion on Gunn tartan issues see http://clangunn.weebly.com/gunn-tartan--scottish-commonwealth-games-tartan---2006.html