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the centre, the angular spaces left between them being filled
Fig. 81.—Side view of the external case of the Crosier of St. Fillan. View of the front or pendent portion of the Crook, and of its terminal plate.
up with plaques of triangular form. No two plaques are exactly equal, and no two are quite alike in their ornamentation. They are implanted on a thin skin of silver, beaten to fit the pattern thus produced, and the spaces left between each plaque are slightly chased with a simple cross-hatching, rather clumsily executed.
When we examine these plaques with attention, it is perceived that their filigree-work is of two different varieties. One is an elegant scroll-work formed of a single wire, irregularly placed but boldly designed, and executed with a precision of curvature and harmony of parts that at once indicates the work of a master of the art. The other is a geometrical pattern, poor in design and feeble in execution. It is wrought with a twisted wire, and appears sometimes as
the sole ornament of the triangular plaques, but never occupies the whole surface of any of the lozenge - shaped plaques. Some of these have part of their ornamentation composed of this inferior work, and the large square plaque bearing the crystal in front of the pendent part of the crook (which is apparently the latest of the whole), is entirely composed of this inferior filigree-work.
The ornamentation of the bulb or socket of the crosier (Fig. 82) consists of semicircular panels of interlaced work, and triangular panels enclosing triquetra ornaments, separated by a pellet-bordering, which is continued along the strap under the concave surface of the crook, and reappears as a bordering on the pendent portion of the front of the crook. This pellet-bordering and this interlaced work, with many varieties of the triquetra ornament, appear on the bosses of an Irish crosier preserved at Tedavnet in the possession of a family of hereditary keepers till the year 1827. Dr. Petrie has figured two of the bosses of this crosier (Figs. 83 and 84), from which
the general resemblance of the style of art on the boss of St. Fillan's crosier to the style so characteristic of the Christian Celtic art of Ireland will be at once apparent.
The crest, which is attached to the bulbous socket and passes along the ridge of the crook, is pierced by a row of quatrefoils, and terminates at the lower extremity in a rude imitation of an animal's head—the only zoomorphic feature which the art of the crosier presents. A similar termination to the crest of an Irish crosier in the Museum (Fig. 85) exhibits a more pronounced character of zoomorphism, while the crest of another Irish crosier1 is entirely zoomorphic, and
composed of four lacertine or dragonesque animals, with their limbs, tails, and crests intertwined in a most elaborate pattern of interlaced work. At the upper extremity of St. Fillan's crosier, where the end of the crest overhangs the pendent portion, there is a small bust of an ecclesiastic, probably intended to represent St. Fillan. Underneath the bust there is a peculiar ornamentation, consisting of a wavy ribbon pattern with a pellet in each loop, which suggests an indication of the date of this part of the work, because the same ornament occurs on the privy seal of David II., the successor of King Eobert Bruce. I have not observed it on any other of the great seals, or other metal-work in Scotland.
The result of this examination of the work upon the outer case of the crosier is to show that the filigree-work is distinctly separable into two varieties, one of which is greatly inferior to the other, and is used to patch up deficiencies in the plaques along the sides of the crook, while it composes the sole ornament of the front plaque that contains the crystal
1 The Lismore crosier figured in Miss Stokes's Christian Inseriptions of Ireland, pl. xlvii.
We may safely assume that the inferior style, which thus patches up the deficiencies, is the later of the two, and that it probably corresponds in date with the time when the body of the crook was bound together by the addition of the crest and strap with the socket to which they are attached, which a comparison of the style of the ornament underneath the bust with the ornamentation of the privy seal of David II. assigns to the fourteenth century. That this binding together of the several parts of the body of the crook really implies the construction of the outer case as it now exists, I think is capable of demonstration.
The meaning of the binding together of the several parts of the outer case became instantly apparent on its being taken to pieces. It was then found that the case had been constructed to contain an older crosier. This venerable relic (Fig. 86), which had been deemed worthy of such an enshrinement, was thus restored to view, and it was also seen that not only had the outer case been constructed over it, but that the filigree plaques, which are now the chief ornaments of the outer case, had been originally the ornaments of the older crosier of copper thus enclosed within it. They fit the spaces between its nielloed straps exactly, and the pin-holes at the corners correspond to the pin-holes in the copper. Their secondary use also explains the reason why their deficiencies were made up with filigree-work of an inferior kind, because in the reconstruction of the crosier by stripping the enclosed crook of its plaques of filigree-work, and fixing them on the outer covering, it was necessary to make the worn-out work correspond in completeness with the altered appearance of the relic encased in its new shrine. Before the older crosier was thus stripped of its filigree plaques it must have been a work of art of no common order. In style and execution its filigree patterns greatly resemble those on the cover of the prayer-book of Charles the Bald, preserved in the Louvre