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The Tara brooch

Object number: ROMGH.1998.139.3

Type: Greetings card

Technique: Commercially printed

Material: Card

Width: 14.4cm | Height: 10.3cm

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

The ‘Tara’ brooch is an iconic and exquisite piece of Celtic metalwork. It’s hardly surprising that Bain was drawn to it as a subject. There’s a large, more detailed black and white drawing of the brooch in the Collection. We think he was working from a photo in a book rather than from the original. He probably used that to create the coloured, adapted version on this card.

Very little of the enamel or coloured glass settings survive on the brooch. Bain therefore used his imagination to create an appealing, colourful interpretation of the design, based on what can still be seen. In so doing he created a beautiful piece of artwork in its own right.

The brooch was actually found on a beach at Bettystown near Dublin in 1850. It was falsely linked to Tara, seat of the High Kings of Ireland, by the jeweller who bought it. He did so to increase the popularity of the replicas he made.

Author: Alastair Morton

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