Suggestions in Design – John Leighton (1881)

March 1st, 2018 § 1 comment § permalink

L’ornement polychrome – A.Racinet (1869)

February 27th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Der Ornamentenschatz – Heinrich Dolmetsch (1887)

February 26th, 2018 § 1 comment § permalink

Scotland Away Kit

October 23rd, 2017 § 3 comments § permalink

Following Scotland’s sadly predictable inability to make it to the World Cup playoffs, and Gordon Strachan’s leaving, the question of ‘who next?’ is inevitably being asked by every Scotland fan. What should also be of great concern is ‘what next?’ for the away shirt – Scotland has a long line of (sometimes) memorable and joyful away kits, and this is a rare Scottish national team tradition that I would like to see continue. What follows is a short analysis of the last 30 odd years of Scotland away shirts, and my suggestion for the next. Home shirt analysis will follow at a later date.

Being in my mid 30’s, I will only go back so far as I can remember. My earliest away shirt memories are of Mexico ’86 – a simple reversal of a classic home shirt, with thick bands of shiny, and less shiny, yellow polyester. The thick horizontal stripe is an underused shirt design, and stripes are a regular Scotland away shirt design trope. In ’86, this was memorably and daringly used on the shorts as well as the shirt – this has not been repeated. I do feel an away shirt should have a real colour clash with the home (which is why I’m not a fan of white away shirts, as there is already white in the home shorts) so the bright yellow is good here. But, there is a bit of design laziness in maintaining the same design composition as the home shirt. I guess the mid 80’s was a little before the mass buying of football shirts, and the away kit may not have been deemed economically viable enough to justify a fancification of design. I’ll give this kit 6/10.

Willie Miller – Israel v Scotland 1986

The away shirt from 1988-1991 continued with the yellow, and the stripes, but mixed things up a bit. with white and a bit of navy blue. Thin and thick stripes, but unusually, one thick band across the chest to leave space for the badge and manufacturer logo. I really love this shirt – it’s simple, well composed, and has a classic shirt collar (with a lovely ‘SFA’ detail). Maybe its because of my memories of Italia ’90, but this has stuck with me. It’s the first of Scotland’s (modern) away kits to be designed without reference to the home shirt. I’ve always wanted to own this one, and for me, it’s a 8/10.

Paul McStay & Stuart McCall – Scotland v Costa Rica 1990

From 1991-1994, Scotland really went for it. At this point in time, away shirts in general seemed to be taking more risks. I think it was seen as a chance to go a bit wild, and this Scotland kit was in some ways a bit of a trail-blazer, and a sign of things to come in the early to mid-90’s. White is predominant, but is punctuated by what I can only describe as a purple and red splurge of shattered glass across the chest. Doing away with any formal composition, I have no idea what the designers were attempting to replicate or symbolise, perhaps the shattered shin bones of opponents. It’s this lack of formality which was shocking and appealing. The white of the shirt did have a kind of weird repeated shiny white triangle design, which was unnecessary, but of it’s time. It’s worth talking a bit about ‘fit’ here – in the late 80’s shirts were pretty wee and tight, as were shorts. In the mid ’90’s  things swung horribly the other way, with very wide shirt, long (short) sleeves, and enormous shorts, all very ugly. Then towards the late 90’s early 00’s things went very tight again (eg Italy Kappa kit) which seemed normal, as generally players were now more athletic, and a tight shirt emphasised this. Then mid 2000’s things got big and baggy again, and now they are tight again. Personally I am a fan of the shorter short sleeve, a straight fit, and not too tight – good tailoring generally. I do notice a lot of art-students now wearing oversized baggy 90’s shirts nowadays, so I guess its swings and roundabouts. This Scotland shirt was creeping towards wide and baggy, but just stays the right side for me. 9/10, mostly for impact and influence.

Ally McCoist – unknown game 1991


John Spencer & Zinedine Zidane (!) – France U/21 v Scotland U/21 – 1991

With 1993 came the first sort-of reference to the Rosebery colours for 40 years. I remember it being described as ‘salmon-pink’ at the time, which seems fair enough. This strip is a bit of a nod to the 30’s and 40’s I think, which happened a lot in the mid-90’s, when draw-string collars were popular for no-known practical reason. Salmon pink, with a thin purple pin-stripe, and purple collar. The collar was of the same fabric as the shirt, which was a development of sorts. I quite like this, though it went way too baggy. Again, there was a nice little SFA badge detail under the collar buttons. It also saw the introduction of ‘UMBRO’ instead of ‘umbro’, which history tells us was a mistake. Overall, it was restrained in composition, bold in colour, so I give it 7/10.

Craig Levein – Scotland v Germany 1993

Another trend of the 90’s was a certain busyness, with bits here, bits there, a lack of simplicity and design composure. The away kit of 95-96 is an example of this. I think it’s fair to compare this one to the purple and red smashed glass kit – whereas the early concentrated it’s oddness to a splash across the chest, this one just decided to put weird angular purple and green dashes (apparently the colours of the SFA tartan) across the entirety of the shirt. It’s also the introduction of the central SFA badge, which, for me, is never good, along with a weird oversized shield, surrounding the (old) SFA badge, which already consisted of a shield. I guess it’s kinda funky, but I think in a combination with the shorts, its too much. I don’t think this was ever worn in a competitive game. 5/10

Scotland team v Columbia 1996

From 1996-98, we have the first in a series of pretty unremarkable away kits. A return to the all yellow of 1986 (which was the first) but with none of the subtle design (although I do like the thin yellow pin stripe), instead just a bland shirt with an ugly collar and an ugly stripe on the shoulders…and way, way too big sleeves 4/10

Craig Burley – Scotland v Norway 1998

From 1998-2000 we move back into salmon pink territory (though pinker than before), this time with a slightly more complimentary navy blue, in a large band across the chest. For me, its spoilt slightly by having another navy band down the shoulders, and a collar which is neither one thing or another. Again, it’s far too big, but I guess that was the thing. 6/10 (if you could get a smaller size to fit like a normal size).

Alan Johnston – Germany v Scotland 1999

What follows this shirt is 7 years of uninspired, lazy shite. From early 90’s school kids favourite Fila, to nobody’s favourite Diadora, here they are. I give them the following marks; from 2000-02, 1/10 – its not only white, its just a reversal of the home shirt. Lazy, boring, lazy. The only thing going for it is a return to a simpler SFA badge. Although, ooh look a swish on the collar.

Matt Elliot – San Marino v Scotland 2000

2002 – 04, Fila go for a kind of combo of the 2nd salmon pink shirt, and the ’86 kit…with a hideous yellow. At least it is simple, and has a round collar. 3/10

Kevin Kyle – Iceland U/21 v Scotland U/21 – 2002

From 2003 – 2005 Diadora gave us another white kit, which is even shitter than the last. This time, they decided to mix things up with some weird lines, and a saltire under the SFA badge, which was useful as at first sight you might have thought it was a failed England shirt. I can find no images of this shirt in action. Dreadful, 1/10

I could not find any images of this shirt in action

From 2005-2007, something different happened, something blue, but a different blue. With two stripes. When I was at school ‘two stripes’ was a derogatory term for something not-quite-adidas, and possibly bought from Kinross Sunday market, ie maybe not legit. At least its not white – I do actually like the pale blue as an away colour. Again, I can find no evidence of this being worn in a match – 4/10.

Neither this one

2007 – 2009 – ooh, a bit of variety here – the St.Andrew’s cross, which to me seems a missed opportunity in Scotland kits generally, is kind of reversed. A big cross is a powerful graphic tool, but something about the composition seems a bit clunky. Maybe it could have been flipped 90 degrees to fit the shape of the shirt better. Still, there is a hint of doing something different, and I like the gold trim along the edge of the saltire (though not on the shirt numbers) so I’ll give it 6/10.

James McFadden – France v Scotland 12/09/2007

For 2009-2010, Diadora followed this vaguely imaginative kit with another dreary white one. This one has a very fine pin stripe though, and a navy blue rucksack strap element. 2/10

I could not find a better image than this

2010-2011, and we have a big hitter sportswear provider – Adidas. I know from experience, that Adidas often have a kind of ‘rent-a-kit’ that is adapted to a team’s colours, so its testament to the buying power and loyalty of the tartan army that Adidas have continued to make some quite unique shirts for Scotland, but not this. The first away kit was a return to yellow, with a kind of pointless big shadow version of the SFA badge. As far as I’m concerned, this also marks a return to a decent shirt fit. That’s it – its blue and yellow. 3/10.

James Morrison – Wales v Scotland, May 2011

2011-2013 and Adidas made the bold move from yellow to…white. The round-neck was replaced by a v-neck. wowsers. 2/10

Darren Fletcher – Belgium v Scotland October 2014

And now we enter the fun-zone. First of all 2014-15, a sort of nod to the Rosebery kit’s, the only problem being the stripes stopping short of the edges of the shirt – why? I don’t know. The stripes get thinner as you go further down the shirt – why? I don’t know. But pink, yellow (and white) is fine by me. The collar and button are good too 7/10.

Scott Brown, Alan Hutton – Scotland v Nigeria 28/05/2014

Now we are up to date – 2016-17 saw a return of the pink. This time, a kind of flourescent shade. I don’t know how deliberate it was, but the reduction of the SFA badge to one colour seems to work graphically, and makes the badge feel less stuck on. But I think the badge is better in red and yellow. I didn’t like this shirt at first, but seeing it en-masse in the Scotland end of the Slovenia match, I warmed to it. Its hot pink. Maybe too hot for an average football team from a grey country, but maybe that’s why it’s good. 8/10

Robert Snodgrass – Slovenia v Scotland 08/10/2017

So what next – well, I had an idea, then I found out someone had already done it. But, that should never stop you – if you think the shirt below looks like Hearts’ away kit in 2016/17, thats because it is. But it is the ideal Scotland away kit. I wonder if Malky Mackay would agree?

Scotland Ideal away kit/Hearts away 2016/17

The Franks Casket – Early 8th Century (British Museum)

August 3rd, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

‘Fallingwater’ – Frank Lloyd Wright 1939 (photos by Jack E.Boucher)

July 13th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

E.S.Curtis – Dwellings

July 13th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

‘Les Arts Arabes’ – Jules Bourgoin (1873)

April 6th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

See the whole book here

Lindisfarne Gospels

February 27th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink


Posters from the ‘Italian Regency of Carnaro’ (Fiume)

February 13th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

In September 1919, the Italian poet and writer (and rapist) Gabriele d’Annunzio led a takeover of the city of Fiume (now Rijeka in Croatia) and proclaimed the ‘Italian Regency of Carnaro‘. It lasted a year or so, before the becoming the ‘Free City State of Fiume’. It’s a complicated story, and he’s a complicated man. On a basic level, he (and others) thought that after the first World War, when the victors were dividing up their winnings, that Italy should take what he believed was rightfully Italian, including this city. The city was run for this short period as a place ….. Here are some posters from the period, with (google) translations.

“Command of the City of Fiume


Those who invoked against the application of Decree No. 50 of the City of Fiume Command concerning the repatriation of irrelevants in Fiume who came to reside in the Territory after 30 October 1914, the exceptions provided for in art. 5 of the aforementioned decree, will go to the police station the R. Sunday, March 7 from 8 am to 12pm. If the application is accepted, they will be given an authorization sheet to remain in the territory of Fiume, signed by head of Cabinet and the Police Commisioner.

Fiume of Italy,  March 5, 1920.


Alceste De Ambris”



last night there continued in some districts of the city rash devastation. It is not permissible to desecrate the memory of noble martyrs with destruction and vandalism; it is not worthy of Italians to enrage a cool head against the property of others, even that of enemies. The excesses, explained in a first flush of passion, find no justification whatsoever when they become systematic. I call again on the citizens to refrain from reprehensible acts and warn that any further attempt against things and people will be repressed with the utmost rigor and with everlasting energy. Measures will be taken to eliminate as soon as possible from our city, the enemies and strangers hostile and dangerous, and are being implemented in full agreement with the military authorities. FIUME

15 Lugio 1920


Riccardo Gigante”




In response to proposals made by General Badoglio, Military Special Commissioner for Venezia Giulia, Commander d’Annunzio has given the General his counterproposals that can be summarized in the following formula: “Give us serious guarantees that Italy does not renounce it in Fiume, nor to the territories already occupied after the armistice and we are ready to cooperate because the situation of Fiume falls, even from a military standpoint and discipline, under normal conditions.

There so proven baseless, are rumors spread artfully by recent official statements that the Commander d’Annunzio would be animated by subversive intentions and by the intention to provoke new wars through expeditions in areas not covered by the armistice convention. The Fiume City of Command”



Fiume City

Command Section for Campania


Fiume today sent to the Lombard capital 250 of its poor children. The generous people of St. Ambrose opened its arms to the children of the holocaust, with a love and a fedepattriottica (?) and Christian at the same time! They are parties, as an offer victtiva (?), as the pledge of the promise that boasts their virgin breasts “ITALY OR STRONG” and never done the lover came the tears and kisses that these small flowers go: from Mothers to Mothers! They imprison suits hopes in the smile of their looks, and their skinny little bodies, their abitucci (?) threadbare lives and trembles a triple dazzle of colors, which exceeds the heartbeat of all the flags of Italy to suffio (?) victory.

The generous impulse of Milan is emulated by many other cities in Italy: Turin and Bologna await anxiously other imminent departures.

Will the voice of Naples remain dumb?

All the generous Neapolitan people roar with joy and desire at the thought of being able to see, kiss, a single child of Fiume, of feeling for his mouth as you love your country and how it is rooted blood Fiume this love! We Neapolitans legionaries, we have the pride of this faith, and we ask our fellow citizens that the coronino (?), which make us be proud of our comrades of the North.

Welcome a Fiume child who’ll try that and frail, even barefoot, because it is Italian, because her parents had preferred the shame misery of serfdom, because Italy has sacrificed their assets, their homes, their activity and a sacred duty for every Italian who has the opportunity to do so! And the families who have an empty place at their home, they have of mourning, sacrifice witnesses, bless the Fatherland and the children, who have procured – the joy of being able to fill that void, pressing those mourning the purest incarnation of that same radiant vision that lightning last look of their children! It shall be blessed a thousand graves of the war, a thousand mothers who conceived the horror, but fed their creatures of the most lively faith, and today sent to Italy, as the baptismal font, please see and know the beautiful country that they did worship in the hearts.

Sara organized coast a Committee to collect offerings and provide arrival. We await with faith.

Fiume of Italy February 21, 1920

LEGIONARI CAMPANI employees to propaganda



Since last Sunday, a group of people shouting “Long live Italy” continues to bring about deplorable acts, maintaining a City in a sorry state of disturbance. In my quality of Minister Plenipotentiary of Italy, I consider it my duty to declare rash, all acts directed against the legality. Not with disgraceful violence that is provided effectively to protect the interests and the Italian civilization! As a former guest and faithful friend of this noble City, then I feel strongly the need to add the word ‘peace’. Fiume is thirsty for peace. The nation awaits its resumption of its industrious activity for years! More unrest, even if inspired by noble idealities, can not be the new sourcs of evil in this troubled city. In his name and in the holy name of Italy that you love, I ask you to return to order.

Fiume, 27 April 1921

C.Caccio Dominioni


“We in Fiume have an admirable leader: Rocco Vadala; our Legion Carabinieri Volunteers bears his glorious name.

All Carabinieri who want to show their Italian faith in Fiume in Italy, will be welcomed fraternally, and widely honored by citizens and legionaries.

I know that our wait will not be in vain.

Here and Italy real refuge Victory betrayed!

“Semper idem sub eodem” (“Always the Same”)

Fiume in Italy, 1920

Gabriele d’Annunzio


“To friends in Italy! The news of the stupid and hateful nittiana (?) provocation to prohibit the transit of Fiume children who had to go to Milan has produced among the population and the legionaries an excitement bordering on fury. There will be demonstrations and purpose of all solid and unanimous: CHILDREN PASS AT ALL COSTS. If the order will not be promptly withdrawn upload the kids on a ship that will travel to Venice to place them under cover of a destroyer with orders to fire on anyone who tried to oppose the landing. This has informed the Commander d’Annunzio to General Caviglia, and this will do.

We recommend it to all my friends because they help us in every way, waving the question that should be of interest and move all if Italy does not become whole and a country of cowards when fear of the government and the socialists even stifles the voice of human compassion.

We hope that the newspapers do not completely “incagoiati” speak despite the censorship, which groups more close to us will agitate, that some Member be finally dare to do at least a query in order to force the government to say why does it deny Fiume children hospitality granted to an extent fifty times more to Viennese children.

The next Official Bulletin of the Commando will contain loose elements to provide our friends of all the weapons to fight. Hopefully they know and want to use it. All personally we recommend a work brisk and courageous: for once the situation and does not leave doubts on our right and good on infamy government. We have to knowing how to benefit. Viva Italian Fiume!

The Legionaries



After exercising pressures because the Fiume Command had submitted its counterproposals to the modus vivendi (way of life/living) offered by billeted, he has rejected his own counterproposals without giving reasons for rejection and without admitting further discussion. So you try to blackmail another time, under threat of serious suffering, the very Italian cities, requiring it to accept a modus vivendi (way of life/living)  by which the government reserves it to give up:

1) up to the hinterland to the north of Fiume, including the railway artery of the port; 2) to all the Quarnaro islands, of which Fiume and tributary and forming with the port of Fiume an indivisible whole; 3) to the delta between Fiumara and Eneo, that a good part of the port.

In front of the imposing inhuman and criminal threat, Fiume last night gave a new proof of his magnanimous Italianity. The National Council, by unanimous vote, decided to reaffirm its full confidence in the Commander, entrusting him with the task of deliberating.

The Commander reserved the right to make known their decision. Meanwhile the billeted troops who patrol launched a new Fiume proclaims: it recognizes that those who were declared deserters from him and passed to the enemy last September are now the saviors of Fiume. But he invites them to leave the City, under pain of severe penalties, declaring resolved the question of Fiume with its modus vivendi classically defeatist.The soldiers of Fiume, as the Fiume City, will be left only to drive from their commander.

The Fiume of the City Command.


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