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Kells plate

Object number: ROMGH.2011.15.9

Type: Plate

Technique: Transfer printed

Material: Ceramic

Width: 27.6cm

Production date: 1995

 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 is a delightful limited edition plate created for Nexus Design. In her design Anne Bowyer has drawn on some of the symbolic artistry used in The Book of Kells. The use of just olive-green on white makes it much easier to pick out the various elements of the plate’s symmetrical design.

The four paired lions’ heads are adapted from the animals in the Book of Kells. The semi-circles between them are Anne’s own design. She sees them as crescents representing the four main compass bearings. She adds knotwork borders in sets of five, reflecting Irish belief in four directions being united by a central fifth way.

On the back of the plate Anne Bowyer writes a very helpful guide to the interpretation of the symbolism she uses. It also includes knotwork and key pattern. She refers to George Bain’s book, Methods of Construction, while developing her own style.

This plate, however, is unique. Anne and her husband Phil have added an 80th birthday wish to Iain, George Bain’s son. They knew each other, living and working fairly close together, in Northumberland. The plate was gifted to the museum by Chirsty Henderson, Iain’s daughter.

Author: Diana Cobden

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