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Thoughtful words

Object number: ROMGH.1998.139.9

Type: Greetings card

Technique: Commercially printed

Material: Card

Width: 10cm | Height: 13.9cm

Production date: 1946 - 1968

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

The sympathetic message on this card is quite different to Bain’s other greetings cards. This text, in Gaelic and English, could be relevant to someone starting a new chapter in their life. Or perhaps it was meant as consolation after a bereavement. It is one of twelve designs for cards in his collection.

The intricate pattern focuses on four men, drawn in a semi-realistic style. They entwine to form an equal-sided cross. Outlined in yellow and red, their main joints are shown as simple scrolls. The intersecting arms, legs and torsos are marked by cross-hatching, an unusual detail in insular art. Their long hair and beards form elaborate knotwork patterns. The strands meet in four pairs of double-coiled spirals.

Bain had found a similar motif of four male figures on one of the cross-shafts at Clonmacnoise in Ireland. It is included in his Methods of Construction, as is another of three men from the Book of Kells.

See: Bain’s Celtic Art, Methods of Construction page 115, Plates 13 & 14

Author: Barbara Pritchard

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