Inside of a Weaver's Cottage in Islay
Watercolour of the inside of a typical weaver’s cottage in Scotland in the 18th century. This cottage was located on the island of Isay, located off the west coast of Scotland. It is a small island and although it is now uninhabited during the 17th century it had a thriving community. Spinning and weaving were important activities in Scotland and tartan fabrics were hand made on large looms like that to the left of this picture. Wool was purchased by cloth merchants who supplied the weavers and paid them to create the fabrics. Many weavers were poor, living and working in very bad conditions. By the mid 19th century with the introduction of power looms the cottage industry declined and more tartans were produced in factories.