Preface To Second Edition

IT is a pleasure to find that the first edition of my late friend Mr. J. Romilly Allen's book on Celtic Art, issued n 1904, is exhausted. The publishers have requested me, as General Editor of the series of "Antiquary's Books," to revise the work for a second edition. My knowledge of the subject is so incomparably inferior to that of Mr. Allen that it was with some diffidence that I accepted the task. However, my Hendsf 'p with h;m for upwards of twenty-five years, and compan'onsh p w<th him on several of his cross-hunting expec' tions, as well as various communications and many conversations on the subject of this book, subsequent to its publ ation. combined to make me do my best.

Mr. Allen finished his book in 1903; in the eight years which have since elapsed, the importance of Celtic art as exemplified in the British Isles has become more and more recognised. The best authority on the subject, Mr. Charles H. Read, President of the Society of Antiquaries, has s£ id that it is " a firm of art peculiarly British, and distinct from contemporary styles on the Cont1 lent. Moreover, il may be cla'tned that the Late-Celtic artist in Britain reached a higher level than his kinsrran abroad."

Several works of Hgh value have appeared since

Mr. Allen collated his material. The three following are the most important:—

(1) The admirable British Museum handbook, by Mr. Reginald A. Smith, entitled, A Guide to the Antiquities of the Early Iron Age of Central and Western Europe; including the British Late-Kcltic period 11905).

(2) Keltic Researches, hy G. W. B. Nicholson, Bodley's Librarian (1904K

In this last fine and exhaustive work many crosses of recent discovery are entered, and seventy, i icludir.g several of distinct Celtic ornamentation, are illustrated for the first time. In the last letter that I received from Mr. Allen, shortly before his death, which occurred on 6 July, iq07, he wrote : "I am very much looking forward to this book on the Isle of Man crosses; it is going to be good and tnoroughly illustrated. Maybe I shall ask you to notice ;t m the Reliquary, for I am seedy again, and may not be up to it."

As the scope of this edition prohibits more than the briefest additions, I have only been able to make very strictly limited use of the new material in these books, as wt.ll as in the recent volumes of the Celtic Review, La Revue Celtique, Proceedings of the Society of A nti-quaries, Archccolvgia Cambnnsis. etc. etc. An endeavour has been made to insert .1 the text references to all important recent finds, such as the bronze bucket-mounts at Mount-Sorrel. The only change made n the expression of Mr. Allen's views or conclusions, and that a slight one, occurs at the beginning of Chapter VI, pp. 162-4. For this change I had ample warrant from both letters and conversations with the author.

Had he lived to bring out a new edition, I have good grounds for believing that Mr. Allen would have somewhat rectified the ethnology of the opening paragraphs of his first chapter in the light of later research ; but I had nothing in writing to guide me, ard therefore left it alone.

Since he wrote the masterly essay contained in Chapter VIII, the result of twenty years of study, as to the evolution of Celtic knotwork, in all its varieties, fiom plaitwork, a considerable number of crosses or parts of crosses with knotwork designs have been brought to light, notably in Derbyshire. On the pre-Roman sculptured stones of that county Mr. Allen himself wrote ably and at length in 1905 i 1 the Victoria County History of Derbyshire (i. 279 -92). When sending this article to me for revision, he said n a letter : " Interesting as the newly found or freshly noted stones of Derbyshire and of three other counties are, they do not suggest to me any need of altering or modifving the scheme of pattern-forming as set forth in my Celtic Art." I therefore felt it would be unwise to make any kind of addition to either Chapter VIII or its predecessor.

The question of the Ch-Rho monogram is one of considerable moment. I am therefore specially glad to be able to increase the instances of its early occurrence in Cornwall frum four to six (p. 163). The occurrence of this monogram at Lanteglos-by-Fowey was, I believe, first noticed by myself in August, 1903.


If compared with the first edition, it will be found that corrections or alterations, some of them quite trivial, occur on pages 40, 41, 47, 48, 78, 79, 91, 92, 94) 95» 98, 99, 106, 114, 115, 1 if», "S, 119, 120, 124, 125, 145, 146, 162, 163, 164, 184, 186, 188, 192, 194, 197, 200, 201, ¿04, 208, 210, 214, 297, 301.

0 0

Post a comment