Knotty bellows

This knotwork carving may have been designed by George Bain or his daughter, Claire. Handwritten in pencil on the back are the words C Bain, Kilmore, Drumnadrochit, where the family lived between 1946 and 1952. However, we don’t know who actually carved out the knotwork – was it done by Claire or done for her?

The pair of wooden shapes were prepared to form the front and back of a pair of bellows. They just need a leather gusset to join the two parts together, along with a brass pipe at one end to direct the flow of air into the fire. It’s easy to imagine the finished object on display beside an open fireplace.

The intricate carving is an adaptation of a circular knotwork panel into teardrop form.  The design is very similar to that on the two Pictish symbol discs on the Hilton of Cadboll cross-slab.