The Sobieski Stuart Brothers – Poets, Designers, Imposters with Panache

In 1882, in the midst of a current fervour for tartans and all things Scottish, two brothers published Vestiarium Scoticum, a replica of an ancient catalogue of ancestral clan tartans that they claimed to have been found in a monastery in France.

While the book was enthusiastically received by both the public and the clothing industry, there were doubters and critics and claims of outright fraud. But the book persisted and today more than 70 of its tartans are still being worn by the various clans, and many still believe that the ancestral designs go back to the dawn of time. Was Vestiarium Scoticum a genuine ancient text? Or was it a monumental fraud on the public? And who were these so-called “brothers” who claimed to be the grandsons of the Young Pretender, Bonnie Prince Charlie?  Darn good Dandies! weaves its way through the lives and mysteries and countless name changes of the eccentric Sobieski Stuart brothers.

Nadine Mackenzie lives in Calgary, Alberta. She has more than 25 books published in French: children’s literature, novels, biographies and history. Her latest work entitled Du sang bleu dans l’ouest du Canada (Blue Blood in the West of Canada) has received an official “Century Certification” to commemorate the First World War from the French Government. This is the only one to be awarded in Canada.  She was previously a journalist and now works as a conference interpreter. She has a M.A. in History of Music from the University of La Sorbonne and has done Musicology and History of the Arts Research at the University of Vienna. Nadine Mackenzie has also received a certificate in Fundamentals of Petroleum from the University of Texas and a certificate in Business Management from the Institute of Public Affairs of Dalhousie University. Her free time is spent riding horses.

Jeanie Hawes is a professional Bagpiper with over 30 years experience on the Great Highland Bagpipe. Jeanie has competed all over North America and Scotland. At 14 years of age, she won the Duke of Argyll’s Silver Medal at the Argyllshire Gathering in Oban, Scotland. After obtaining her Bachelor of Commerce Degree at the University of Calgary, Jeanie studied under several mentors at the College of Piping in Prince Edward Island, Canada and continues to study ongoing with her final mentor A. Wright of Dunblane, Scotland. In 1997, Jeanie was the first female Canadian to win first prize in the light music at the prestigious, invitational only, Northern Meeting in Inverness, Scotland. Jeanie was also the first female to perform a recital in the famous Royal Scottish Piper’s Society in Edinburgh, Scotland. Jeanie continues to study, perform, and judge on an ongoing basis. She has also been a music judge for the Calgary Stampede Parade for 13 years. Jeanie has performed for many dignitaries. She has by appointment to HRH Princess Anne.

Darn Good Dandies: The Sobieski Stuart Brothers (An historical enigma uncovered), by Nadine Mackenzie, 978-1-927823-28-6, paperback with flaps, $19.95, available from


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