Romano British Bronze Bird Brooch


A finely cast ancient Roman bronze zoomorphic brooch in the form of a flying bird. The brooch is two dimensional and depicts the bird’s wings, which are pyriform and outstretched to show the bird in flight. Incised concentric circles – which are perhaps sun symbols – adorn each wing. The catch plate and hinge remain, although the original pin is missing.

Date: Circa 2nd Century AD
Provenance: From a Surrey gentleman's collection (DG), purchased on the London Art Market from an ADA member, formed 1990's onward.
Condition: Fine condition - unfortunately the original pin is missing.


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.

Romano-British zoomorphic brooches were immensely popular and birds-in-flight make up a large number of this group. Most likely this piece was manufactured in Britain and exported to the continent. Examples of similar pieces appear more abundant in Britain with only a few examples found across the Channel. Often the wings on such brooches would be decorated with enamel.

Weight 7.05 g
Dimensions L 2.8 x W 2.4 x H 1.2 cm




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