Crescent Hair Slide by Alexander Ritchie
Groam House Museum
This unusual Celtic-inspired crescent hair slide sheds light on the Iona Celtic Art movement, an important creative industry. During the first half of the twentieth century, the island of Iona was the home of a number of significant craftsmen and women, starting with Alexander and Euphemia Ritchie. The pair moved to Iona shortly after their marriage in 1898, setting up a workshop the following year which was to have a long-lasting impact on the creative industries of the region.
This hair slide was created by Alexander, although he worked closely with his wife on designs. Euphemia was praised by her husband for her skill with the pencil and ability to recreate the complex interlacing patterns on Celtic artwork.
The design features the Pictish symbol of the crescent and v-rod, taken from the Rosemarkie Stone. Drawings of the stone had been reproduced and it is likely that the Ritchies were working from an illustration. The date letter ‘k’ on the back, along with the maker’s mark, show this to have been produced during 1910-11.