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Knotworking a cross

Object number: ROMGH.1998.14.2

Type: Poster

Material: Ballpoint pen, Paper, Pencil

Width: 62.8cm | Height: 50.4cm

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 created numerous posters to illustrate the methods of construction of knotwork and other geometric designs. Using certain reference books, he drew enlarged details from photographs of illuminated gospel books. Or he increased the size of certain drawings of Pictish cross-slabs that appear in The Early Christian Monuments of Scotland. Here Bain focusses on one of the crosses on the Ulbster stone.

This study shows how to draw the equal armed cross. Bain uses pencil, ruler and compasses to lay out the knotworked five crosses within the single cross. He shows the first stages by going over the light pencil lines with ballpoint pen. There’s fine black for the saltire crosses and red for the central lines of the knotwork design.

Then Bain shows how to complete the pattern in the other squares. Either side of the central line he uses thicker black lines to make the wide strand. He then rubs out the pencilled central line and shades in the background. He adds inner lines to the strand to enhance the design.

J R Allen & J Anderson 1903 The Early Christian Monuments of Scotland page 34

Author: Alastair Morton

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