Romano-British Dragonesque Type Brooch


A fine Romano-British bronze dragonesque brooch, featuring a S-shape with expanded decorative terminals. To the top, the brooch is adorned by a geometric motif, comprised of squares and triangles which alternate bright yellow, red, and blue enamels. A similar motif is repeated on the brooch’s finials. The top crescent-shaped head is connected to the body and presents a ring attached to its neck. The reverse of the piece remains unworked.

This item was found in Lincolnshire in the 1970s.

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. Repair to lower section, signs of wear and patination on the surface consistent with age; well-preserved original enamel.


Fibulae or brooches were originally purposed as garment fasteners in the Roman Empire. Roman soldiers especially, wore fibulae as decorative piece to keep their cloaks together.  These brooches replaced straight pins that were used to fasten clothing in the Neolithic period and the Bronze Age. Fibulae are the most common artefact-type in burials and settlements throughout much of the continental Europe. Their modern day equivalent are the trustworthy safety pin.

There were a multitude of fibula designs in Roman culture. Dragonesque type brooches attest to the cultural complexity of Roman northern provinces, where Celtic and Classical culture converged. They combine traditional Roman zoomorphic plate brooches with local styles of decoration, including the curving animal heads and bright enamelling typical of Celtic art.

Weight 7.8 g
Dimensions L 4 x W 2.3 cm




Reference: For a similar item, please see The British Museum, item 1857,1214.9