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A Season of Picnicking Awaits

There's more than meets the eye when it comes to designing a tartan, which is why we enlisted the help of specialist Araminta Campbell to create our timeless new picnic blanket

1707 saw at least two momentous events: the founding of Fortnum & Mason and… what was it? Oh yes. The invention of Great Britain.

 

While our brand new grocer’s shop would come to define the essence of Englishness, our sourcing from and supplying to Scotland is a long-held and highly treasured tradition, which we are honouring with our first tartan.

 

In our new picnic rug, the symbol of the clan meets the symbol of the picnic

 

Creating a tartan is not something to be taken lightly and we took the responsibility seriously – although it was a seriously joyful process too.

 

We enlisted the expertise of brilliant tartan specialist Araminta Campbell – a spinner of yarns in both the literal and metaphorical sense – who wove our story into all the colours and threads used. Working closely with Fortnum’s, it took over a year just to get the elements, including weight, dyes and weave, before turning our attention to the story.

 

 

In our new picnic rug, the symbol of the clan meets the symbol of the picnic. The picnic rug has been crafted from 100% brushed lambswool, and while the inspiration very much comes straight out of London, the Fortnum’s tartan is Scottish made. Woven in a family-run artisan mill, the lambswool picnic blanket are testament to Scotland's famous textile traditions. 

 

So, who’s ready to join the Fortnum’s clan?

 

 

The Story of Fortnum's

The Fortnum's tartan starts at the very beginning, with our founders William Fortnum & Hugh Mason represented in the double Eau de Nil checks at the centre of the design. Before we invented the Scotch Egg, our corner shop sold the candle wax from the Royal household, which flickers into life through the bright flame yellow. For anyone who has tasted all our delectable jars of honey, you'll know how our bee hives and beeswax are another passion of ours. Our apiaries are reflected in the pale yellow tramlines placed across the soft green ground, with six threads for the six hives in London and four threads for the four hives on the Piccadilly flagship store roof. 

 

Before we invented the Scotch Egg, our corner shop sold the candle wax from the Royal household, which flickers into life through the bright flame yellow

 

We now have four wonderful emporiums, which are represented in the horizontal and vertical checks. The deep red echoes the colour of the sumptous carpets running throughout our interiors as well as all the delicacies waiting to be discovered in the food hall such as lobster (which you may have spotted in our brand Marque). The outer red check is made up of 12 threads, standing for the service Fortnum & Mason has provided to 12 Royal Monarchs, including HM Queen Elizabeth II herself.

 

 

Araminta Campbell

First introduced to textiles at a young age, Araminta Campbell saw sewing as an art form and went on to undertake a textile degree at Manchester Metropolitan University. Throughout her degree, she was inspired to think conceptually, and turning to her Scottish heritage in her final degree project led her to becoming a self-taught weaver. Later she learned the rare skill of natural plant dyeing, which can be seen across her weavery and embroidery today. 

 

 

Her company's beginning were born a scarf woven from British Alpaca for her mother – who is still waiting for the scarf, as it was prompty snapped up by an eager first customer instead. Interest and commissions came thick and fast, and she soon moved her studio to Edinburgh where she began building a small team.