Over 250 Island school children have been busy unravelling the legacy of Celtic artwork in a range of activities, while trying their own hand at Celtic designs in the Celtic Style exhibition at the House of Manannan in Peel.
Children were invited to discover for themselves the craftsmanship and designs of various artists who have explored and developed different Celtic Styles over the past 2000 years. The Celtic Style exhibition contains a wide range of remarkable objects from the work of the early Celts through to the 21st century. Two of the oldest objects and most spectacular objects in the exhibition being the 2000 year-old ‘Mayer Mirror,’ kindly on loan from the National Museums of Liverpool, and the Calf of Man Crucifixion altar panel, c800 AD discovered on the Calf of Man in the 1700s which still remains one of the finest carvings of its type and period.
During the school workshops, children have worked with DoEC seconded teacher Jo Dalgleish and artist Nicola Dixon to understand the complexity and intricacy of Celtic design. Of particular interest and importance is the work of Manx born artist, Archibald Knox, who designed metalwork for Liberty & Co. A breathtaking selection of Knox’s work is displayed within the Celtic Style exhibition including St Patrick’s Hymn, or the Deer’s Cry (Faed Fiada), which is an illuminated manuscript of the prayer traditionally ascribed to St Patrick. The Deer’s Cry was designed and executed by Archibald Knox (1864-1933) and it beautifully illustrates Knox’s love for and the influence of the Island’s carved Norse and Celtic crosses in his artwork. Knox is known to have worked on the Deer’s Cry during the First World War, when he was a parcel censor at Knockaloe Internment Camp on the Isle of Man.
Nicola Dixon commented:
“Throughout the workshops students have marvelled at the genius of Manx born artist, Archibald Knox. By deconstructing and recreating one of Knox’s simple knot designs, children have understood the symmetry and sophistication of Knox’s designs, which extend beyond the mathematical”.
Anthea Young Education Services Officer, MNH said:
“We are delighted to encourage children to learn more about Celtic artwork, as part of the Island’s curriculum and celebration of the Island of Culture. We are privileged to work with a unique collection of objects within the Celtic Style exhibition together with DoEC seconded teachers, artists and House of Manannan staff who have assisted the visiting children in understanding more about the Island’s heritage. I would like to also thank the Friends of Manx National Heritage who have volunteered to prepare the range of craft resources for the children’s learning and enjoyment”.
Celtic Style commemorates the 150th anniversary of the birth of Archibald Knox and is part of Manx National Heritage’s contribution to Island of Culture in 2014. The exhibition is on display until 8 February 2015 and has been kindly sponsored by Lloyds Bank.
Image Caption: Kieran Nobbs of Michael School who said “It was really fun to make the bookmarks. We used a variety of colours just like Archibald Knox did.”