Object of the Month
Each month we feature a different object from the museum's collections or exhibitions.
This Pictish carved fragment is from the top corner of the Rosemarkie cross-slab, the centre-piece of Groam House Museum. It is currently on temporary display in the museum, as part of our celebration of 30 years of Doors Open Days, an event that occurs annually throughout September.
Hugh Fearn found the stone 25 years ago, when he was building garden terraces in his back garden on the High Street. The rest of the top of the slab must still be in the ground somewhere in or near the graveyard around Rosemarkie Church.
The design is of one end of a Pictish V-rod – part of a crescent and V-rod symbol. The other face of the fragment has not survived – the piece is thinner than the cross-slab. A close look at today’s cross-slab top reveals a small part of the associated crescent, as well as the V of the rod.
Sculpted around 1200 years ago, the cross-slab is an unusual masterpiece when compared to others in Easter Ross and further afield. Not only is it particularly tall and slim, but the slab also has 2 pairs of sculpted symbols one above the other, and a decorated Christian cross on both faces. It’s a treasure!
This drawing of Rosemarkie's cross slab is by Ian Scott, who holds the intellectual copyright to the image.