About this artwork

According to the legend of the Irish Saint Bride she was transported miraculously to Bethlehem to attend the nativity of Christ. Here two angels carry the white robed saint across the sea. The seascape reflects Duncan's fascination with the Outer Hebrides and the Isle of Iona. The birds and seal provide an effective naturalistic foil for the supernatural angels overlapping the patterned border. Scenes from the life of Christ decorate the angel's robes, and may include the artist's self-portrait as the tiny clown (a holy fool) accompanying the procession of the magi on the leading angel's gown.

John Duncan

John Duncan

One of the leading representatives of the Celtic Revival in Scottish art, John Duncan first trained as an illustrator in his native city, Dundee. After periods of work and study in London and Antwerp, Duncan settled in Edinburgh in 1892. In the wider European context, Duncan was an exponent of the Symbolist movement. As well as Celtic imagery, he was inspired by the early Italian Renaissance, sometimes working in tempera. His output ranged from murals and paintings through to stained glass and book illustrations.