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Circular delights

Object number: ROMGH.1998.15

Type: Poster

Technique: Drawn

Material: Ballpoint pen, Paper, Pencil

Width: 84.2cm | Height: 53.3cm

Production date: 1946 - 1962

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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 study is of seven circular, decorative elements from three of the superb Pictish cross-slabs from the Tarbat peninsula in Easter Ross. They are from the stones of Hilton of Cadboll, Shandwick and Nigg. Bain shows almost nothing in terms of construction methods for the designs, but he does make comments.

The largest interlace design, from the Hilton of Cadboll Stone, is of three interwoven lines. This is an unusual departure. Normally a single, continuous line is used, representing infinity, or everlasting life. Bain therefore comments that the complex use of three lines may reference the Holy Trinity.

He also notices, from detailed observation of the Nigg stone, that one of its elements contained an interlacing problem or mistake. The alternating ‘over and under rule’ could not be satisfied.  His explanation “probably due to odd number” is not easy to interpret.

Author: Alastair Morton

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