Iona Abbey from Dun I, with the Sound of Iona beyond.
The 'Paps of Jura' can just be seen in the far distance.

Pair of unusual design silver brooches by Alexander Ritchie. Basic floriate design. Marked AR and IONA in inset rectangles. From the early 1920s. Picture courtesy J Michaud.

Above is the reverse of a brooch identical to the pair at the top of the page. This later example is from 1936, and the markings are set in a cruciform layout; AR and IONA forming one 'arm', and ICA with Birmingham 1936 hallmark forming the other.

Rare early Viking ship brooch with the word 'Iona' incorporated on the front. Marks for Chester 1905 and second mark CS * FS for Cornelius Sanders and Francis Shepherd (see hallmarks page).

Silver Alexander Ritchie longboat brooch, based on a medieval carving from MacKinnon's cross shaft, carved AD 1486. (See section on Ancient Carved stones of Iona on this site). Brooch is approximately 1.5" width, and has reverse markings of AR IONA ICA and Birmingham hallmark for 1938.

Scarce silver Viking ship brooch, width approximately 1". The centre shows a typical Ritchie Viking ship in full sail, and is surrounded by a fish-tailed border with the Gaelic inscription 'Bennachd Leibh' ('God's Blessing'). Markings are AR and IONA, with ICA (Iona celtic Art) in recessed rectangle and Birmingham hallmark for 1934.

Most unusual early Alexander Ritchie silver brooch. This design can be seen on the postcard shown in the introduction pages of this website. The rarity of this brooch lies in the fact that it has been double-hallmarked (possibly due to a weak casting, and thus re-assayed by a different silversmith?). The faint but clearly-visible first hallmark is the standard AR IONA and a Chester hallmark for 1913. The word 'Iona' has been overstamped by the same word in a larger, heavier typeface - and the piece has a second full hallmark of G&W, Glasgow 1914. G&W were Gilmore and Watson, Oban-based silversiths from the early 20th century, who often stamped their work IONA on the reverse of items.

Silver bar brooch with typical 'Ritchie' foliate ends, and Viking ship central design. Length approx 1.5". Marks are AR IONA and ICA within inset rectangle - hallmarks for Birmingham 1934. Pictures © C T Fraser.

Silver Viking ship brooch, height approx 1". Stamped AR IONA - and ICA within inset rectangle. Birmingham hallmarks for 1935. Pictures © C T Fraser.

Unusual Alexander Ritchie silver brooch, the desgn based on 7th/8th century Pictish crescent and rod patterns from Eastern Scotland carvings. Width approx 5cms. Marks are AR IONA and ICA with Birmingham hallmark for 1934.

Delightful silver Clarsach or Scottish harp brooch by Alexander Ritchie, 8cms high. The reverse has AR IONA on the top pillar, and at the foot is AR within a 'spectacle mark' stamp, and Glasgow hallmark for 1927.

Fine pierced silver 'Viking' longship brooch by Alexander Ritchie. Double marked with AR IONA and AR within the legendary 'spectacle' mark, together with two hallmarks for Glasgow 1927. This is a pre-ICA piece. The Viking longship was one of Alexander Ritchie's favourite designs. Some of his ship designs are taken from two Norse burial slabs which can still be seen in Iona museum. Other ship designs are from Scottish medieval carvings and depict medieval Scottish longships of the time.


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© 2004 by David James