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Book of Durrow knotwork border

Object number: ROMGH.1998.18.1

Type: Poster

Material: Ballpoint pen, Paper

Width: 63.4cm | Height: 53.2cm

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

George Bain’s school pupils report that his classroom walls were lined with large posters. They were of Celtic designs and their construction methods. After he retired he continued to create posters for his adult students. We think this is one of them.

Bain shows a method for drawing a complicated interlaced knotwork border from a ‘carpet’ page of the Book of Durrow. He starts with the first stage at the bottom of the page. Then he builds up to the complete border at the top. Immediately below the finished border he shows a range of different effects that can be achieved using the same basic method.

The poster is drawn with ballpoint pens, which were introduced after World War II. Bain used them to draw precise lines in a variety of colours without danger of smudging. Look closely at the pink colouring of the finished border. You can see that he must have spent some time carefully drawing rings and squiggles in red ballpoint pen to achieve this effect.

See: The Book of Durrow, TCD MS57, folio 125v, Trinity College Dublin

Author: Jo Clements

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