Preface

THIS work is an attempt—whether successful or not the critic must dec'de—to give a concise summary of the facts at present available for forming a theory as to the origin and development of Celtic art in Great Britain and Ireland. By Celtic art is meant the art of the peoples 'n Europe who spoke the Celtic language, but it must always be borne in mind that although linguistically they were Celts, yet racially they were of mixed Celtic and Iberian blood, so that their art was possibly quite as much Iberian as Celtic. It is only since the epoch-making discoveries of Schliemann i Greece, of Flinders Petrie 1 Egypt, and of Arthur Evans ;n Crete that it has been possible in a satisfactory manner to connect the culture of Britain in the Bronze Age with the corresponding culture on the Continent. It is now quite clear that certain characteristic decorative motives, such as the divergent spiral, are of foreign origin 1 istead of having been invented in Ireland, as was at one time believed. Other discoveries made in England, more especially those at Ajlesford, Glastonbury, Mount Caburn, and

Hunsbury, have thrown an entirely new light on the archaeology of this country by showing that the Early Iron Age began here two or three cenfuries at least before the Roman occupation. Lastly, the explorations made by Continental antiquaries at Hallstatt n xVustria, La Tene in Switzerland, and n the Gaulish cemeteries of the Marne district in France, point to the sources of the culture to which the late Sir Wollaston Franks gave the name " Late-Celtic."

Celtic art naturally divides itself i ito two distinct periods, the Pagan and the Christian. With regard to the latter, the remains have been so fully investigated that it is hardly probable any new facts will be brought to light which will seriously alter the conclusions now arrived at. With regard to the Pagan period the case is altogether different, as most of the finds hitherto made have been due to accident, and until the large number of inhabited and fortified sites belonging to this period are systematically excavated our knowledge must necessarily remain incomplete.

I have endeavoured to give in the footnotes all the sources whence my information has been obtained, but I should like more especially to acknowledge my indebtedness to A. Bertrand and S. Reinach's Lcs Celtes dans les Vallees dn Pa et du Danube; J. Anderson's Scot/and in Pagan Times and Scotland in Christian Times; Arthur Evans' papers on the Aylesford, .¿Esica, and Umavady finds in the Archcroiogia; and George

Coffey's papers on the ornament of the Bronze Age, Newgrange, etc., in the Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, and in the Transactionx and Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy.

The theory of the evolution of Celtic knotwork out of plaitwork (as explained on pages 257 to 278) is entirely original, and. simple as it appears when explained, took me quite twenty years to think out whilst classifying the patterns that occur on the early Christian monuments of Scotland, England. Wales, and Ireland, nearly all of which I have examined personally.

No illustrations are given of the pages of the Celtic illuminated MSS. on account of the difficulty of making satisfactory reproductions of them on a small scale. I have thought it better to refer the reader either to the MSS. themselves or to the Publications of the Pahcographical Society and Professor J. O. Westwood's Miniatures of the Anglo-Saxon and Irish Manuscripts.

A large number of photographs of Late-Celtic metal-work in the British Museum have been specially taken for this work by Mr. II. Oldland, w;th the kind permission of Mr. C. H. Read, f.s.a.. I am indebted to the Rev. Canon W. Bazeley for obtaining a photograph of the Birdlip mirror in the Gloucester Museum, and to Mr. George for the loan of Sir II. Dryden's drawings of the Hunsbury sword-sheath in the Northampton Museum. Mr. George Coffey, m.r.i.a., of the Museum of the Royal Irish Academy, has also from time to t;me been good enough to assist me ir. various ways. The photographs of the cast of the Nigg cross were taken by Messrs. M. and T. Scott, of Edinburgh, for Mr. I). J. Vallance, the curator of the Museum of Science and Art at Edinburgh.

For the use of electrotypes of blocks I have to give my best thanks to the Society of Antiquaries of London/ the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland,2 the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland,3 the Royal Irish Academy,4 the Royal Archacological Institute,5 the Cambrian Archaeological Association,6 the Somersetshire Archaeological Society,5 and the publishers of the Antiquarythe Reliquary,9 anu the Illustrated A rchceologist.10 Plates XXVI., XXIX., XXXV., XXXVI., and XXXVII. are from the series of photographs taken by Mr. W. G. Moore, of Upper Saokville Street, Dublin, for the Royal Irish Academy.

9 1, i> 27 to 36, iSi, 185, 187, 189, 191, 259 to 269, 271 to 273. 283.

10 Plate XXXIV.

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