An inherited fortune from the Turkey Red textile dyeing and printing industry of the Vale of Leven, Scotland, paid for 37-year-old Charles Orr Ewing’s magnificent G.L. Watson-designed schooner Rainbow, launched at Partick, Glasgow in 1898 – and now being replicated in Holland.
Archibald Orr Ewing & Co. was just one of a number of 19th Century textile enterprises to take advantage of the plentiful, clean (at east upriver) waters of the River Leven on their meandering way from Loch Lomond to a brackish merging with the River Clyde via the shipyards and castle rock of Dumbarton. They employed thousands of workers to produce brightly coloured, well-designed and exotic fabrics catering for worldwide demand, and they fiercely backed their intellectual property rights by copyright and litigation.
Read more about the personalities and companies of the Vale of Leven’s textile industry here and here, about the Turkey Red dyeing process and its beautiful products here, about Rainbow’s lively life as Hamburg after Charles Orr Ewing’s death aged 43 in 1903 here and, of course, all about her designer G.L. Watson’s fascinating career and output in Martin Black’s beautifully illustrated and written biography, G.L. Watson – The Art and Science of Yacht Design, available to purchase online at our website www.peggybawnpress.com, from Amazon UK and Amazon USA, and from the bookstores listed here.
[Thanks to Dr Stana Nenadic with Dr Sally Tuckett of the University of Edinburgh, the good folk behind http://www.valeofleven.org.uk, and Jorma Rautapää]
~ Iain McAllister ~