The Art of the Picts: Sculpture and Metalwork in Early Medieval Scotland

Overview

Drawing on their extensive research and expertise, renowned historians George and Isabel Henderson illuminate one of the great enigmas of medieval art: the unique metalwork and sculpture of the Picts. Tribal Celtic-speaking warriors and farmers in what is now Scotland, the Picts were one of the major peoples of early medieval Britain, but their culture and their beautiful art have puzzled historians for centuries.

George and Isabel Henderson’s acute analysis reveals an art form ...

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Overview

Drawing on their extensive research and expertise, renowned historians George and Isabel Henderson illuminate one of the great enigmas of medieval art: the unique metalwork and sculpture of the Picts. Tribal Celtic-speaking warriors and farmers in what is now Scotland, the Picts were one of the major peoples of early medieval Britain, but their culture and their beautiful art have puzzled historians for centuries.

George and Isabel Henderson’s acute analysis reveals an art form that both interacted with the currents of “Insular” art and was produced by a sophisticated society capable of sustaining large-scale art programs. The illustrations include specially commissioned drawings that help one understand the mysterious symbols found in the art.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The Picts were the people the Romans were trying to keep out when they built walls across Britain. So called by the Romans because they painted or tattooed themselves, they disappeared as a separate ethnic group around 900 C.E., blending with the Scots, Celts, Britons, and Angles in what is now Scotland. George Henderson (medieval art, emeritus, Cambridge) and his wife, Isabel (The Picts), here team up to write a rare major study of the art of the Picts. Chapters include "The Pictishness of Pictish Art," "Reassessing Pictish Metalwork," and "Pictish Figurative Art." The Hendersons challenge the concept that Pictish art was pagan, provincial, and undeveloped, pointing out its connections to Christian iconography and its close relationship with what is generally known as Insular Art. The 300-plus illustrations, mostly black-and-white photographs with some maps and drawings, are standard art history book illustrations, with excellent detail. Because design is the focus, the lack of color illustrations is not a deficit. This rare and thoughtful look at Pictish art is recommended for both academic and art libraries.-Mary Morgan Smith, Northland P.L., Pittsburgh Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780500289631
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson
  • Publication date: 10/10/2011
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

George Henderson is Emeritus Professor of Medieval Art at the University of Cambridge.

Isabel Henderson is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s leading authorities on the Picts and their culture.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Criticism of Pictish Art: from 'insular' to Insular 9
1 The Diagnostic Features of Insular Art: A General Review 15
2 Pictish Participation in Insular Art 31
3 The Pictishness of Pictish Art 59
4 Reassessing Pictish Metalwork 87
5 Pictish Figurative Art: Themes and Programmes 123
6 Form and Function of Pictish Sculpture: I 159
7 Form and Function of Pictish Sculpture: II 197
8 Losses 215
Epilogue 226
App The Old Scatness Bear 229
Glossary 230
Notes 231
Select Reference Bibliography 248
List of Maps 249
List of Illustrations 249
Index 254
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