Iona and the public display of early Christian art

© David Gill
Replica of St John’s Cross, Iona © David Gill

The great replica of St John’s Cross dominates the western end of the Abbey on Iona. It has a span of some 2.2 m. (The original is in the site museum.) It appears to date from the 700s or 800s. The original cross was made from stone brought from Loch Sween in Argyll.

A cast of St John’s Cross features in the newly opened The ‘Celts: Art and Identity’ exhibition that has opened at The British Museum.

2001 [rev. ed. 2011]
2001 [rev. ed. 2011]
2011 [rev. 2014]
2011 [rev. 2014]
How far are these early Christian images ‘Celtic’? I find it interesting that the Historic Scotland guidebooks to Iona Abbey and Nunnery by Anna Ritchie and Ian Fisher (2001, rev. ed. 2011) and by Peter Yeoman and Nicki Scott (2011) appear to avoid the use of the word ‘Celtic’.

Hebridean Heritage: Dun Beag

Dun Beag, Skye © David Gill
Dun Beag, Skye © David Gill

The broch at Dun Beag on Skye holds a commanding position looking out towards the Western Isles, near Bracadale. It is approximately 11 m in diameter. It is estimated that it originally stood to some 10 m. Although the broch probably dates to the first century AD, it appears to have continued into use up to the 18th century.

The broch is in the care of Historic Scotland.

Students in checkmate

Image
UCS Students in the British Museum

Some of our design students visited the British Museum this week to engage with the collections. Our starting point was the Lewis Chessmen, found in the Outer Hebrides.

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