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Ian Grant
Finest kilt accessories, heraldic & ornamental hand engraving

About Ian Grant

Ian Grant displaying engraved cantle
Ian Grant is now the only heraldic hand engraver in Scotland's capital city where he has practised his craft for over 40 years. His name is a by-word for elegant design and quality.

He had been encouraged to develop his artistic talents at College, but chose another course. He had disliked the private classes in water colour painting that he had attended as a child and had, since then, developed a passion to work with metals.

In his youth Ian Grant was interested in the symbolism expressed in the art of the ancient world, struck by the expertise of the Victorian engravers and in awe of the wood engravings of the 16th century artist Albrecht Dürer. The engravings by Dürer are magnificent and Ian's ambition was to match that skill in metal. If you have a look at some of the work of Dürer you will see how it captivated the young Ian. The image on the left is a Dürer from Ian's collection. It will enlarge.

On leaving school he opted for the the hands-on approach and joined Edinburgh's foremost silversmiths and jewellers: Hamilton & Inches. There, his talents were quickly recognised and after two years learning the art of the silvermith he was apprenticed by his firm to a specialist engraver, Mr James Anderson. He spent the next eight years acquiring the skill and knowledge of the heraldic engraver.

After this apprenticeship he returned to his employers to manage their engraving department. However the role of manager was not for him. He wanted the freedom to concentrate on his art, so with the blessing of his firm he left to work on his own.

Ian Grant's training in engraving was in the Victorian tradition, using the tools and techniques that had barely changed in centuries. During his apprenticeship he studied heraldic art and in his spare time he pursued his interest in ancient symbolism. This training and study combined with his personal goal to strive for perfection have had a profound effect on his designs for kilt accessories.

There are four themes running through these designs: the thistle as the Scottish emblem, the eternal knot tying-in with our Celtic heritage, zoomorphic creatures from the ancient world, usually dragons and the acanthus leaf in the highly ornate Victorian style.

It is unique to Ian Grant Designs that he then created a matching set of kilt accessories: each theme is carried into the sporran, chain strap, belt and buckle, kilt pin, cufflinks, sgian dubh, plaid brooch and even jacket buttons. These accessories can be supplied singly so that a matching set can be built up over the years. Over the next three decades he divided his time between commissions for single items and developing a range of accessories for wearing with the kilt. His son Fraser now manages the business so that Ian can spend more time on his passion - design and engraving.