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 Yes you can     No you cannot
View this picture on the internet for enjoyment and inspiration Yes
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Use the picture for commercial purposes without the permission of the Copyright holder No
Details: knotwork inside bowl

Bowl of birds and ribbons

Object number: ROMGH.1998.97

Type: Bowl

Technique: Painted, Turned

Material: Wood

Width: 22.5cm | Height: 9cm

Production date: 1920 - 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

This brightly painted wooden bowl sits centre stage on a stand at a 1950s exhibition. It is surrounded by other Celtic design objects made by George Bain’s students. We don’t know exactly who designed or painted this bowl but it does show Bain’s philosophy of Celtic art in action.

A ring of brightly coloured birds march round the outer border of the bowl. The design is inspired by a detail on a page in the Lindisfarne Gospels. As with his other research, Bain drew out the birds from a modern illustration. He then worked out how to construct these birds with their interlacing of necks and tail feathers. He published this in his ‘Methods of Construction’.

On the inside of the bowl is an all-over open knotwork pattern. On a rich, deep blue background, the gold, blue and crimson colours repeat some of those of the birds. The two ribbons tie themselves into loose pretzel shapes around the rim. They then swirl and loop across themselves and each other to the centre of the bowl and back again. Bain shows how to create this design from first principles in the ‘Elementary Knotwork Borders’ section of his book.

See Bain's Celtic Art, Methods of Construction page 109 Plate 1

Author: Jo Clements

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One comment on “Bowl of birds and ribbons

  1. What a beautiful piece! I love how clear the zoom is and the flow of the description is great too. In particular, I appreciate how there are specific references back to George Bain’s books. I have both of those books in my collection, so it’s great to know that I can refer directly to them. 🙂

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