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Knotty greetings

Object number: ROMGH.1998.139.6

Type: Greetings card

Technique: Commercially printed

Material: Card

Width: 8.7cm | Height: 13.9cm

Production date: 1946 - 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

Bain was commissioned by the publisher William MacLennan of Glasgow to design various greetings cards. They all have messages in both Gaelic and English. This one is based on the Pictish design on a face of the Rossie Priory cross-slab. Bain keeps the central rider on the stone. But he omits the rest of the hunting scene, the pair of Pictiish symbols, the other figures and beasts. He needs the space for the mottos and exhortations.

His design for this greetings card exploits the existence of two ‘ends’ of a continuous knotwork line. This never-ending strand was a feature of Pictish design that fascinated Bain. HIs exploration of the Rossie Priory knotwork is detailed in his book Methods of Construction. He expresses surprise that he can find so few parallels for the design. In particular, Bain remarks that there seemed to be none in Irish illuminated manuscripts.

Bain seems to have been especially enamoured of this stone. There are another two illustrations that focus on it in his book.

See Bain's Celtic Art, Methods of Construction page 55 Plate L & pages 148-9 Plates 21 and 22

Author: Alastair Morton

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