British Museum Pattern Books: Early Celtic Designsby Ian Stead, Karen Hughes
Early Celtic art was created in the 5th century BC by tribes in what is now the east of France and the
This visual anthology features several hundred examples of patterns found in early Celtic art, before the Roman conquest of Europe. They are relatively little known, compared to the later, essentially Irish designs most often associated with the term "Celtic art".
Early Celtic art was created in the 5th century BC by tribes in what is now the east of France and the Rhineland. Although some aspects were native, it borrowed Greek motifs and some Oriental influence. The Greek motifs were adapted, dissected and rearranged resulting in the distinctive patterns of a new style. Most of the craftsmen responsible were metalworkers, decorating artefacts for the ruling classes throughout Celtic Europe. After the 4th century BC, foreign influences ceased and Celtic art evolved under its own momentum. In Britain, it reached fresh heights in the 3rd century and continued to develop until the Roman conquest in the 1st century BC.
The illustrations in this book provide new insights into the development of Celtic art and may serve as a source of ideas for designers, craftspeople, teachers and students.
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