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Preparatory studies

Object number: ROMGH.1999.13

Type: Drawing

Material: Paper, Pen and ink, Pencil

Width: 20.2cm | Height: 25.4cm

Production date: 1935 - 1951

 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

Taking a look at George Bain’s Methods of Construction, it is clear this is a draft for one of its full pages of illustrations. The chapter on ‘Plant and Human Forms’ begins with a drawing that includes both of these studies. They are exquisite details from the Book of Kells, taken from the opening page of St Luke’s Gospel.

Bain seems to have really enjoyed enlarging the very small human figures on some of the pages of the Kells illuminations. He used Sir Edward Sullivan’s illustrated summary of the Book of Kells, first published in 1914, as his source. He always notes the real size of the details in the Book of Kells. It is amazing that here his larger drawing was only 7cm high in the original.

See Book of Kells TCD MS58 folio 188r Trinity College Dublin (detail bottom right) and Sullivan E 1914 Book of Kells

See Bain's Celtic Art, Methods of Construction page 120, Plate V

Author: Alastair Morton

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