Sally Foster and Sian Jones
Windgather Press, £35
ISBN 978-1911188599
Review AB

The small island of Iona in the Inner Hebrides is recognised by many as the ‘cradle of Scottish Christianity’ and is home to a number of significant carved stones. Among them is the St John’s Cross, believed to be the progenitor of the Celtic ringed highcross, originally erected in the mid-8th century AD outside St Columba’s Shrine. However, the Cross has collapsed several times over its 1,200-year history, and in 1970 it was replaced by the concrete replica that currently stands on the site.

In this book, Sally Foster and Sian Jones examine the history of the Cross and its replicas, challenging the traditional dismissal of historical reproductions as of less importance than the original. Their study shows that replicas play their own role in heritage landscapes, which is worth considering when looking at object biographies.

The publication’s carefully considered discussions are complemented by a selection of wonderful images, offering a rich visual journey that places the Cross in the context of the local landscape and community, as well as within wider discussions about the place of sculptures and replicas.


This review appeared in CA 368. To find out more about subscribing to the magazine, click here.

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