George Bain (artist)

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Modern Celtic-inspired design involving a circle surrounding a triangle; between them are undulating and crossing patterns. The background is crimson.
Inspired by Bain‍‍ '​‍s monograph on Celtic knots, Steve Ball's knotwork appears on the cover of the Discipline album of King Crimson.

George Bain (1881–1968), born in Scrabster in the far north of Scotland, was an art teacher who almost single-handedly revived interest in Celtic and Insular art.

His book Celtic Art: The Methods of Construction[1] was published in 1951. It had little impact at the time, but on its re-issue in 1971[2] it introduced a generation to Celtic knotwork, the Pictish stones, the Book of Kells and the Book of Durrow. As well as describing and illustrating over 200 historical examples, his book was notable for giving detailed instructions on creating similar interlace, spiral, and trumpet designs, and encouraging their use in craftwork.

Bain's monograph inspired the design for the cover of King Crimson's Discipline album; in later releases, it was replaced by a knotwork designed by Steve Ball,[3][4] which has also been used the logo of Discipline Global Mobile and Guitar Craft,[4][5] a music company and a musicians' association each founded by King Crimson's Robert Fripp.[6][7] A Bain design was also used to illustrate a rug manufactured by Quayle and Tranter, a former manufacturer of carpets based in Kidderminster, England.[8][9]

His son Iain, an engineer, later also wrote two books - "Celtic Knotwork" and "Celtic Key Patterns".[10]

The majority of Bain's known existing works are curated by the Groam House Museum in Rosemarkie, Scotland.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bain, George (1973). Celtic Art: The Methods of Construction. Dover Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-486-22923-8. 
  2. ^ The Continuum of Celtic Interlace
  3. ^ Ball, Steve (1 October 2001), "Saturday September 29", Steve Ball diary,, retrieved 29 February 2012 
  4. ^ a b Ball, Steve (21 May 2009), "Steve Ball extended history: Side note", Steve Ball Roadshow: Extended press-kit,, retrieved 28 February 2012 
  5. ^ Fripp (2011, p. 2): Fripp, Robert (2011). Pozzo, Horacio, ed. Seven Guitar Craft themes: Definitive scores for guitar ensemble. "Original transcriptions by Curt Golden", "Layout scores and tablatures: Ariel Rzezak and Theo Morresi" (First limited ed.). Partitas Music. ISMN 979-0-9016791-7-7. DGM Sku partitas001. 
  6. ^ Bambarger, Bradley (11 July 1998). "Fripp label does it his way: Guitarist follows own muse in business, too". Billboard 110 (28): 13 and 86. 
  7. ^ Tamm (2003, Chapter Ten: Guitar Craft)

    Tamm (2003, Chapter Eleven: Guitar Craft in the world)

    Tamm, Eric (2003) [1990], Robert Fripp: From crimson king to crafty master (Progressive Ears ed.), Faber and Faber (1990), ISBN 0-571-16289-4, Zipped Microsoft Word Document, retrieved October 26, 2011 

  8. ^ "GEORGE BAIN FOR QUAYLE AND TRANTER". Christie's. Retrieved 15 October 2013. 
  9. ^ "George Bain, A Celtic pattern hunting rug". Bonhams. Retrieved 15 October 2013. 
  10. ^ North Carolina State University, Celtic Knotwork
  11. ^ "Groam House Museum". 2013. Retrieved 15 October 2013. 

External links[edit]