Sunrise over Ben More on Mull, with the
Sound of Iona and the Abbey in the foreground

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, Iain MacCormick left C.A.I to pursue his own individual career as a silversmith.

Iain MacCormick's mark on a 1950s penannular brooch, showing his initials, IONA, and Sterling, Scotland.

Finely executed silver spirals brooch by Iain MacCormick, early 1950s. Marks are IMC and Iona, Sterling, Scotland.

Silver finger ring with knotwork design by Iain MacCormick, early 1950s. Marks are IMC and Iona, Sterling, Scotland.

Large penannular brooch by Iain MacCormick, from an Alexander Ritchie design. Early 1950s. Reverse marks are IMC and Iona, Sterling, Scotland.

Unusual silver finger ring by Iain MacCormick, with knotwork panels surrounding a central depiction of the cross known as St Columba's Pillow. Markings are IMC, IONA Sterling. Date c.1950.

Two finely-made silver and enamel brooches by Iain MacCormick. Both approximately 3cms diameter. Reverses have the marks 'IMC - Scotland - Sterling', and 'IMC - Iona - Sterling'. No assayer's marks. 1950s/60s.

Silver Iona St John's Cross pendant by Iain MacCormick. Detailed workmanship, and a continuation of an Alexander Ritchie version of the same cross. Marks are IMC and IONA. 1950s period.

Attractive silver Viking ship brooch by Iain MacCormick, based on an earlier Alexander Ritchie design. Marks are 'IMC - Iona - Sterling - Scotland'. c.1950.

Unusual shaped silver brooch by Iain MacCormick, based on an Alexander Ritchie design. Reverse is marked IMC -Iona - Sterling. c.1950.


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© 2004 by David James