Roman Composite Enamelled Plate Brooch
A finely cast Roman bronze composite plate brooch decorated with vibrant blue and red enamel. The brooch features a central, rectangular plate perforated along the long edge by three circular cells. Sitting horizontally across the plate is an additional bronze bar, featuring a projecting emblem of the three same circular motifs that feature along the side. At each end is a concave triangle, ending in a knob terminal. Each triangular end is decorated with blue enamel with a round, red enamel cell at its centre. To the reverse is an original hinge and pin, with a large perforated catch plate. A rare piece in very good condition.
Circa 2nd century AD Provenance:
Ex Cambridge collection, ex Gorny & Mosch Sale 231, 17th June 2015, lot 272 (part), ex Slg. D.K., acquired circa 1980s.Condition:
Excellent condition. Enamel still vibrant. Pin and hinge still intact. Openwork horizontal perforations missing slightly.
Fibulae or brooches were originally used in Ancient Greece and in the Roman Empire for fastening garments, such as cloaks or togae. The fibula designs developed into a variety of shapes, but all were based on the safety-pin principle. The Roman conquests resulted in a spread of Roman culture and therefore the use of the fibula, which became the basis for more complicated and highly decorated brooches, modelled in bronze, silver and gold and further enriched with precious and semi-precious gemstones. Fibulae are the most common artefact-type in burials and settlements throughout much of continental Europe. By the Middle Ages, the Roman safety pin type of fibula had fallen into disuse.
The composite plate brooch, as the name would suggest, pulls together multiple elements from known brooch types, creating a fibula that is relatively unique.