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Details: intertwined tail feathers and feet
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View this picture on the internet for enjoyment and inspiration Yes
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Details: base of bowl

Jessie’s bowl of birds

Object number: ROMGH.2009.35.3

Type: Bowl

Technique: Painted

Material: Ceramic

Width: 18cm | Height: 10.2cm

Production date: 1952

 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

The intricate design on this white bowl was drawn and painted by Jessie, George Bain’s wife. She has signed it underneath as JB 1952. We presume that DR stands for Drumnadrochit, by Loch Ness, where they lived for six years. But sometime that year they moved to Staffordshire, to live with one of their daughters, Chirsty.

The design features pairs of birds with necks and tail feathers intertwined, repeated three times. The two-stranded necks give a length that allows them to turn back, so their beaks can grasp their bodies. The taloned feet hang down, partially intertwined with their sinuous tail feathers. Altogether there is a rotational symmetry to the piece. The sloping sides and circular shape makes this quite a complex design to calculate, but it is beautifully executed.

The limited palette of colours helps to make the individual birds stand out clearly. One of each pair is mostly outlined in orange and cross-hatched in yellow. The other is lined in black with a bright green fill. But the tail feathers of each are in the opposing colours. This is quite a surprise and shows considerable thought.

Author: Diana Cobden

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