Napkin rings

George Bain was very skilled at painting never-ending designs on round household objects. Here he has taken a couple of plain wooden napkin rings and enlivened them with colour. Both show signs of wear, so presumably they were regularly used by George and Jessie, his wife. They are a valued part of their family’s gift to the museum.

The two strand interlaced knotwork design in green and yellow stands out on its dark brown background. Even the edge of the ring has been coloured.  It’s quite different to the other napkin ring, which is painted with a very bright key pattern design.

Both are in a photo in Methods of Construction showing a display of items made by George Bain and his students . We aren’t sure where or when this exhibition was held. Perhaps it was part of the Dunedin Society’s exhibition in Edinburgh in the late 1940s. Or was it part of a display in Quayle & Tranter’s carpet showrooms in Kidderminster in the 1950s?