Speltz, Alexander / Styles of ornament: exhibited in designs, and arranged in historical order, with descriptive text.
The Keltic ornament, pp. -Plate 70.
Initial from the 7th century (Owen Jones). S THE KELTIC ORNAMENT. rnamental art, such as was developed in the British Isles, but more especially in Ireland, even during the sway of heathenism, was, without any doubt, a pure Keltic art of its own, without any traces of Byzantine or South European influences. The very same ornamental work which we find in the old heathen stone coffins are also to be seen in the manuscript paintings of the Keltic monks of the sixth century. Keltic artists show a most astonishing and extraordinary skill and variety in the delineation of ornamental tracery, in which the bodies of birds, dogs, snakes and fantastic animals are most skillfully interwoven. Vegetable ornaments were entirely absent in the earlier specimens of this work, appearing first in the 9th century, very probably as the result of Roman influence. The very great similarity existing between Scandinavian and Keltic ornament points to a very close connection between the two styles of art, a fact which is all the more evident when we remember .that Christianity was introduced into Norway and Sweden by Irish missionaries.
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