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Collieburn’s key pattern

Object number: ROMGH.1998.16

Type: Poster

Material: Ballpoint pen, Paper, Pencil

Width: 50.3cm | Height: 63.3cm

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

Bain studied this Pictish sculptured slab so that he could take up the challenge of creating part of its missing sections. We don’t know if he visited the private museum at Dunrobin Castle to study this part of the cross-slab. If he didn’t, he may have used the main reference book by Allen and Anderson as his source.

Perhaps he was drawn to this large sculpture because of the size and depth of the carving. The key pattern and knotwork discs are so three-dimensional. But he clearly didn’t see a need to make an exact copy of the surviving design. The incised dividing line along each interlaced strand is missing.

Bain loved to create his own patterns based on Pictish geometric forms but he hasn’t done this here. He hasn’t attempted to suggest what the rest of the carving could be. He could have got some ideas from the complex panels on the Rosemarkie cross-slab.

Allen JR & Anderson J 1903 The Early Christian Monuments of Scotland page 51-2

See Bain's Celtic Art, Methods of Construction page 79 Plate 9 and page 48 Plate 8

Author: Jill Harden

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