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Celtic Art: The Methods of Construction
by George Bain

ISBN: 0486229238
Dover Publications Price: $16.95
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The construction principles of Celtic art were re-discovered in the middle of the 20th century by George Bain. Until his writing, the intricate knots, interlacings, and spirals used in illuminating The Book of Kells and in decorating craftwork and jewelry seemed almost impossible, "the work of angels." In this pioneering work, George Bain shows how simple principles, no more difficult than those used in needlecraft, were used to create some of the finest artistic works ever seen. He also explains how you can use these principles in re-creating artifacts and in creating your own Celtic designs for art and craft work or even for recreational use.
Step-by-step procedures carefully introduce the simple rules and methods of Celtic knot work and the well-known designs from the great manuscripts and stone work. Later chapters build up to complex knot work, spiral work, and key pattern designs, with special coverage of alphabets and the stylized use of animals, humans, and plants. Altogether over 225 different patterns are presented for your use, with hundreds of modification suggestions, 110 historical and modern artifacts showing designs in use, a great number of letters including six complete alphabets and 25 decorative initials, and a number of animal and human figures used in the original Celtic works.
Artists, students, craftspeople, even children can work with these patterns and instructions for creating dynamic designs for use in leather work, in embroidery and other needle work, in metalwork, jewelry making, card design, borders, panels, illuminations, and in countless other ways. Mathematicians will find a great deal of pleasure in the geometric principles on which the patterns are based. Art historians and others interested in studying Celtic art will find a great number of outstanding art works and the best presentation in English for understanding Celtic design.

Reprint of the 1951 edition.

Table of Contents for Celtic Art: The Methods of Construction
Knotwork Borders
A. Precursors of Celtic Interlacings
B. The methods of construction
1. General principles for designing Celtic Knotwork
2. General principles of methods of construction
3. Simple Celtic interlacing borders
4. Celtic Knotwork borders
5. Applications to craftwork for simple interlacings
6. Border designs and their application to circles
7. Knotwork borders
8. Interlacing borders
9. Interlacing borders
10. Interlacing borders
11. Further border designs
12. Method of doubling interlacings
13. Method of mitring
14. Method of mitring
C. Construction of ornaments, Monymusk Reliquary
D. Construction of Viking ornament, Lewis
Knowwork Panels
E. Examples from Gospels of Lindisfarne and Book of Kells
F. Comparison of similar designs at Salisbury and in Perthshire, Angus and Caithness
G. Design on cross-slab at Ulbster, Caithness
H. Panel from Book of Kells
1. Simple Knotwork Panels
2. Knotwork Panel in Pictish proportions
3. Variations from Plates 1 and 2 from Book of Kells
4. Example of continuity -- St. Madoes Stone
5. Further methods of constructing Knotwork Panels
6. Examples from Ulbster and Strathmartin Stones
7. Reptile Knotwork Panels, Shandwick Stone also panel from Lindisfarne, St. Vigeans, Dunfallandy, Eassie and McDurnan
8. Panels common to Lindisfarne, Ulbster, Collieburn and Glammis
9. Construction of Nigg Stone Panel
10. Example from a Book of Durrow border
11. Irish and Pictish Knotwork -- Durrow
12. Unit from Book of Durrow
13. Knotwork in circular panels. Shandwick Stone and Book of Kells
14. Circular panels -- Boko of Kells and Hilton of Cadbol Stone
I. Construction orders -- Plate II, Book of Durrow
J. Completed design -- Plate II, Book of Durrow
K. Design from Page of Eight Circled Cross, Kells
L. Interlacing in Rossie Priory Stone
M. Aberlemno Stone -- use of Triskele in all-over repeats. Examples of travesties of this design made in the past
1. Methods of constructing spirals
2. Construction of spiral centres
3. Spirals and breaking into trumpets
4. Joining spirals -- Kells and Aberlemno examples
5. Spiral centers from ancient British and Pictish enamel work
6. Examples of spiral centres from M.S.S. and enamel work
7. Spiral groups -- Book of D
8. Spirals -- Kells and Lindisfarne
9. Spiral Borders
10. Borders and Terminals from M.S.S. and Ornamented Stones
11. Spiral panel and Hilton of Cadboll Stone
12. Panel on Shandwick Stone
13. All-over spiral patterns -- M.S.S. and stones
14. Examples from Kells and Lindisfarne
Key Patterns
N. Key pattern on arm of Aberlemno Cross showing earlier travesties
1. The construction of Key patterns
2. Key pattern borders and mitring
3. Patterns from Rosemarkie Stone and Lindisfarne
4. Key pattern borders and panels
5. Treatment of Nigg Stone and comparison with Maya Keys
6. Nigg Stone Key panel and variations
7. Key patterns -- Nigg, Kells and Lindisfarne
8. Comparison of methods by Welsh and Pictish designers in Pembrokeshire and Ross-shire
9. Reconstruction of panel -- Collieburn Stone Kells border and terminal
10. Comparison of Aberlemno, Aberlady and Lindisfarne keys
11. Examples of the minute accuracy of Kells scribes. Comparison of Kells and Farr Stone Keys
12. Further work of Kells scribes. Comparison of Rosemarkie, St. Chads and Kells keys
13. Application of key patterns to panels
14. Comparison of designs from Mezin, Russia (b.c. 20,000--b.c. 15,000), Kells Lindisfarne and Farr
1. Kells script, c Art
1. Design by Leonardo da Vinci, "Concatenation"
2. Design by Albrecht Durer, "Sechs Knoten"
3. Design by Michelangelo for Capitol quadrangle, Rome
4. Bronze champfrein from Torrs, Kirkcudbright
5. Irish Bone Carvings
6. The Trelan Bahow Mirror
7. Doorway, Flaa Church, Hallingdal
8. Wire work from Tara Brooch, Ardagh Chalice and Buckle from Sutton Hoo
9. Magazine Cover Design "Alba"
10. Design for Menu Card
11. Greeting Card, Lindisfarne Birds of Friendship
12. Celtic Greeting Card
13. Gaelic New Year Cards -- Kells initial "B"
14. "Horse-shoe" Greeting Card, Inverurie Stone
15. Reproduction of Celtic Hunting Carpet
16. Early British Enamel, Somerset
17. Early British Enamel, Canterbury
18. "Doorway" Design for New Year Greeting Card
19. Design for Greeting Card
20. Greeting Card adapted from Groudle Stone, Isle of Man
21. Greeting Card adapted from the Rossie Priory Stone
22. The Rossie Priory Stone
23. The Aberlemno Stone
24. The Hilton of Cadboll Stone
25. The Author sketching the Hunt at the Nigg Stone
26. The Rosemarkie Stone
27. The Battersea Shiels
28. Detail of design in King Henry VIII, portrait
29. King Henry VIII by School of Holbein the Yo
30. Zoomorphic Carpet design
31. Fireplace Panel
32. Contemporary design by girl aged 16 years
33. Embroidery designed and worked by schoolgirls
34. All over carpet design by the author
35. Group of articles made by the author and pupils
36. Further group of articles
37. Bronze Plaque
38. Bronze Plaque
39. Celtic Art in Knitwear, etc.