Tuesday, 2 August 2011

I is for Iona

To continue my alphabet of British Arts and Crafts metalware - I is for Iona Celtic Art.

A group of metalworkers and silversmiths working on the Scottish island of Iona, starting with Alexander Ritchie (1856-1941) and his wide Euphemia then followed by the Celtic Art Industries of John Hart and Iain MacCormick. The tradition continues today through the silversmith Mhairi Killin.

The work draw it inspiration from the traditional celtic art found on the surrounding islands, especaily the celtic crosses and architecture of the monastic community established by St Columba. Common motifs include the Celtic cross, viking boats, mythical beasts, swords, shields and the entwinned knot patterns.

Shapes include traditional kilt pins, brooches, spoons, plaques and boxes. Generally silver items are marked hallmarks, AR for Alexander Ritchie, IMC for Iain MacCormick, CAI for Celtic Art Industries and HHI for Highland Home Industries. This was a very popular stlye and many mainland silversmiths worked in a similar style. Brass and copper items were made, some marked but mainly unmarked.

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