This silver mount fitting is the result of collaborative practice-led investigation into the re-creation of historical artefacts in order to bring new visibility to, and understanding of, material processes and techniques that are now forgotten or little-known. Jennifer worked in collaboration with Dr Mhairi Maxwell (Glenmorangie Research Officer, National Museum of Scotland) and Dr Martin Goldberg (Principal Curator of Medieval Archaeology and History, National Museum of Scotland). The design was inspired by early medieval objects in the collection of the National Museum of Scotland (NMS). The work was commissioned by the National Museum of Scotland (NMS) and The Glenmorangie Company as part of The Glenmorangie Early Medieval Research Project, which set out to re-examine objects from the period c.300–900AD in collaboration with artists and designers.
The mount was presented at the exhibition Creative Spirit, at the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, 5 January – 24 February 2014. It was subsequently exhibited at the All Makers Now? conference at Trelissick House, Truro, England, 10 – 11 July 2014, and the Journées Particulières, at the Glenmorangie Distillery, Tain, Ross-shire organised by Louis Vuitton, Moët, Hennessy (LVMH) 20 – 22 May 2018.
Images tracking the making process from 3D modelling to hand modelling:
The design is part of Gray’s long-standing investigation into the re-creation and re-imagining of historical artefacts in order to bring visibility to material processes that are now forgotten or little-known. The mount is approximately 170mm x 40mm, made from 600mg of silver, and attached to the tip of an African Ankole horn (crafted by Johnny Ross, Sutherland Horncraft) measuring 582mm in length. The unique design is inspired by early medieval objects such as the Ninian’s Isle Chapes (c.750–825 AD), Norrie’s Law Hoard (c. 800 AD), the Rogart Brooch (c. 900 AD), and the bird-head mounted on the end of the Bullion Man’s Drinking Horn (c. 900–950 AD) all in the collection of the National Museum of Scotland (NMS). The production of the mount used a combination of contemporary digital tools and traditional silversmithing skills. The research and methods underpinning the design and the use of silver were informed by archaeological evidence (artefacts, literature and stone carvings from periods between c. 750–900 AD) and expert input from Dr Martin Goldberg) and Dr Mhairi Maxwell.
This process of recreation has allowed the experience of these ancient objects as new, providing insights into how they were made, experienced and used. The final piece was displayed as a ‘work in progress’ (illustrating its conception from 3D modelling and printing through to the final silver cast object) in the National Museum of Scotland’s Creative Spirit exhibition.
Related lectures and papers
Jennifer Gray, Design Archaeology: Bringing a Pictish Drinking Horn to Life, ‘All Makers Now’, Falmouth University, England. 10–11 July 2014.
Jennifer Gray, Design Archaeology: Bringing a Pictish Drinking Horn to Life, IICA7 – 7th International Insular Art Conference, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland. 16–20 July 2014.
Jennifer Gray, Design Archaeology Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology, Annual Conference Siena, Italy. Gray, J, Maxwell, M. 30 March – 3 April 2015.
Jennifer Gray, The Glenmorangie Project Recreations: Curator and maker, the impact of shared knowledge on practice and research, ‘Experiment, Experience and Enchant Knowledge Sharing Between Museums and Contemporary Craft’, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh. 5 April 2020.
Jennifer Gray, Mhairi Maxwell ‘Design Archaeology: Bringing a Pictish Drinking Horn to Life’, in All Makers Now? ‘Craft Values in 21st Century Production: Conference Proceedings’, Falmouth University, England. In K. Bunnell & J. Marshall (Eds.). ISBN 978-0-9544187-9-3.
Jennifer Gray, Mhairi Maxwell, ‘The Interplay of Digital and Traditional Craft: Re-creating an Authentic Pictish Drinking Horn’, in S.Campana, R. Scopigno, G. Carpentiero &M.Cirillo (Eds) CAA 2015 Keep the RevolutionGoing: Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Conferenceon Computer Applications and QuantitativeMethods in Archaeology. 2 vols, pp. 1182. Oxford:Archaeopress. ISBN (Electronic). 9781784913380.ISBN (Print). 9781784913373.
Jennifer Gray, Mhairi Maxwell, ‘Experiment, Experience and Enchant Knowledge Sharing between Museums and Contemporary Craft’, Glenmorangie Research Symposium, National Museum of Scotland, April 2020.