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Comparative keys

Object number: ROMGH.1998.23

Type: Poster

Material: Ballpoint pen, Paper

Width: 63cm | Height: 52cm

Production date: 1946 - 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 is one of over 50 posters created by George Bain, after he retired from Kirkcaldy High School. All were drawn using ballpoint pens, which didn’t become affordable until after the 2nd World War. Here he favours dark blue and black, but other posters are multi-coloured with red, green and bright blue too.

We don’t know why Bain chose to illustrate these particular key patterns. Perhaps he wanted to show that the design was popular across Wales as well as Scotland. Here, there are examples from early medieval sculptured stones and illustrated manuscripts. But they are all different in style. For example, the Nigg key pattern on the cross face is much more formal than the later carving on the east side of the cross at Nevern.

Author: Alastair Morton

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