Romano-British Bronze Zoomorphic Bird Brooch


A Romano-British bronze brooch modelled in the shape of a stylised and sharply executed duck. The bird is depicted at rest, with its wings tucked in. The elongated body features a triangular crossection and is flat underneath. It flares outwards into a trapezoid tail. The neck of the bird is elegantly curved and leads to a slender head and beak. The hinge mechanism is mostly intact: the right side of the spring is now unfortunately cut, whilst the pin remains partly mobile.

Date: Circa 2nd century AD
Provenance: From a Surrey gentleman's collection (D.G.), purchased on the London Art market from ADA member, 1990s - onwards.
Condition: Fine condition, lovely patination remains on the surface.


SKU: MG-256 Category: Tags: , ,

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. Most pins were produced from bronze or iron however, precious metals such as gold have been used, owned by those of a higher status to demonstrate their wealth and power. The brooch itself can take many different forms and decorations, zoomorphic brooches were popular during the Roman period and have been found throughout Britain and other continental provinces.

Birds were a common decorative theme across the Roman Empire and were especially popular as a fibula design. Amongst the repetoire of zoomorphic brooches, birds and mammals are by far the largest group. Amongst this, birds-at-rest, such as this example are also common. Iconography can vary however across the examples found, from grooved pieces to flattened and simplified.

Weight 8.8 g
Dimensions L 4 x W 2 x H 2.3 cm




Reference: For a similar item, please see The British Museum, item 1851,0228.14