Groam House Museum
Groam House Museum
This small museum in Rosemarkie is home to the best collection of Pictish art in the Ross-shire. The core of the exhibit is 15 beautifully carved Pictish stones, all carved locally, dating to the 7th-9th century.
Rosemarkie today is a picturesque village, but when the early Irish missionaries began to spread Christianity across Scotland this was an important centre, so it should come as no surprise that the Groam House collection has inspired generations of artists. One of the artists was George Bain, dubbed the 'father of modern Celtic design'. A large collection of Bain's work is held in the museum, near the stone carvings that inspired his best work.

The Rosemarkie Cross Slab
This is the star exhibit; a cross-slab carved with intricate Pictish designs and Christian symbols. It was made in the late 8th century, and almost the entire surface of the stone is carved with intricate interlace patterns, crosses, and traditional Pictish symbols such as the crescent and V-rod, double-disc, and mirror. Nearer the base animal figures are woven into the geometric patterns.

What is really unusual is that instead of the hunting scene you might expect to see in the lower half of the stone (see Aberlemno, for example) there is a large Christian cross. The cross is set in a fantastically intricate border that looks like the illuminated manuscripts of the same era. This unusual cross carving alone has led the Rosemarkie Cross Slab to be labelled 'one of the wonders of Pictish art'.

Another unusual feature of the Rosemarkie carvings is the use of recessed panels (where the design is set into the stone surface rather than standing out in relief).

Aside from the Pictish stones and the Bain Collection, the museum has a wealth of archaeological finds from around the region, plus displays on local history, and more carved stones from the medieval period.

The museum is open seasonally and is usually closed during the winter months. Please see the official website for current opening details.