Four years after the death of Alexander and Euphemia Ritchie in 1941, a company called Celtic Art Industries was founded in 1945 by Hamish Dawson-Bowman, an enthusiast of the Ritchie’s work and also of the ancient and medieval carved stones of Iona. He and his wife had been married in Iona Abbey just prior to the war, and his wife also was very familiar with the island.
Hamish Dawson-Bowman also bought the Island of Erraid in the early 1950s. This tiny island lies off the tip of the west coast of Mull and overlooks Iona.
Celtic Art Industries, abbreviated to C.A.I and sometimes used as a stamp on silver items, was founded with the intention of continuing the production of jewellery in the Iona tradition. Certainly two of the three craftsmen involved in this venture have become well known to enthusiasts of traditional Scottish jewellery. The three were Iain MacCormick, Malachy Gormley, and John Hart. They worked at this time from an old farm building in the Glasgow area, maintaining a strong link with Iona - as Iain MacCormick’s mother managed the crafts shop on the island and also gave the C.A.I some original Ritchie designs which had been left to her.
Subsequently, John Hart left C.A.I to pursue his own individual career as a silversmith.
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© 2004 by David James