Currently on display a selection of items designed by George Bain chosen from our collection by the George Bain Curator.

George Bain (1881-1968) was an artist and educator whose Celtic art instruction manuals have inspired countless artists and craftspeople since they were first published in 1945. 

Bain was captivated by intricate Pictish stones, early medieval illuminated manuscripts and ornate metalwork from Britain and Ireland.  He made detailed drawings of the designs and created a method through which they could be drawn in a series of simple steps.  Bain hoped that others would be able to use his methods to create new designs in a Celtic style, gaining personal artistic satisfaction, promoting a uniquely Scottish national art, and stimulating the rural economy.  From 1945 onwards he published his methods in a series of popular instruction manuals that continue to inspire artists and craftspeople.  Today, his instruction manuals are still in print as Celtic Art: The Methods of Construction. 

As well as instructing others, Bain himself produced hundreds of designs in a Celtic style, for everything from carpets to teapots, and from knitting patterns to handbags.  The George Bain Collection contains Bain’s sketches, hand-drawn plates for his books, designs for craftwork and craftwork itself – carpets, leatherwork, woodwork, embroideries, ceramics.

The George Bain Collection provides a unique insight into George Bain’s working methods, his teaching and advocacy for Celtic art, the impact of his publications, and the ways in which his domestic life reflected his commitment to and philosophy of Celtic art.  The George Bain material at the core of the collection is complemented by designs and objects produced by other members of the 19th- and 20th-century Celtic art revivals.  The collection is a Recognised Collection of National Significance to Scotland.

Appointments to visit the collection can be made by contacting


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