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 Yes you can     No you cannot
View this picture on the internet for enjoyment and inspiration Yes
Share, download and use this picture No
Use the picture for commercial purposes without the permission of the Copyright holder No
 Yes you can     No you cannot
View this picture on the internet for enjoyment and inspiration Yes
Share, download and use this picture No
Use the picture for commercial purposes without the permission of the Copyright holder No

A slab of history captured

Object number: ROMGH.1998.34

Type: Poster

Material: Ballpoint pen, Paper, Pencil

Width: 53.4cm | Height: 167cm

Production date: 1948 - 1968

 Yes you can     No you cannot
Use the same Celtic patterns in your art and craft work Yes
Use this design for commercial purposes without the permission of the Copyright holder No
Commercially reproduce this object without the permission of the Copyright holder No

This large drawing of the back of the Nigg Pictish cross-slab is full of fascination. It is not just a wonderful artwork. It seems that Bain wanted to set the record straight following publication of drawings by another artist in 1944. The notes in the margins show that he was not impressed with the illustrations. He felt that Gibb had copied some of the geometric panels wrongly.

We know from a photograph in Methods of Construction that Bain studied this side of the stone in person. He wasn’t just interested in the knotwork, interlace and key patterns. He also does his best to interpret the remains of the figural sculpture, although it is very badly weathered.

Comparison with a modern technical drawing shows where he too has mis-understood the original elements. For example, it’s not a Pictish mirror and comb symbol to the left of the horse and rider. It’s actually a man playing cymbals, from one of the biblical stories of the life of David.

See: Diack, FC ‘The inscriptions of Pictland. An essay on the sculptured and inscribed stones of the North-East and North of Scotland’ edited by Alexander, WM & Macdonald J in Third Spalding Club, vol 13 (1944)

Author: Alastair Morton

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