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An early version of Methods of Construction (6)

Object number: 2006.6

Type: Camera-ready artwork

Technique: Printed

Material: Card

Width: 25.8cm | Height: 38.2cm

Production date: 1935

 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

Celtic art designs were used when decorating various early medieval items.  George Bain studied photographs and drawings of examples from Britain and Ireland. He wanted to draw them accurately. These complex spirals are from various objects. The designs are in the Northumbrian Book of Durrow, Irish church silverware and Pictish sculpture.

At top left, Bain shows a portion of a border of spirals from underneath the base of the Ardagh Chalice. He uses this border in the chapter on spirals in Methods of Construction. But there he adapts the design from curving to linear. This allows him to compare it directly with panels from the Book of Kells.

Exact copies of the other examples drawn here are not used in his book. However, he does emphasise the importance of spirals in Pictish sculpture. He draws those at at Tarbat (Portmahomack), Aberlemno and Shandwick (Easter Ross).

TCD MS57 folio 3v Trinity College Dublin (digital link MS57_014)

See Bain's Celtic Art, Methods of Construction page 65, Plate 9

Author: Alastair Morton

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