Romano-British Enamelled Openwork Brooch


A finely cast Romano-British bronze plate brooch decorated with vibrant blue enamel. The brooch features a central plate formed from four symmetrical discs, decorated with a smaller, concentric circle. Each disc would of once held vibrant enamelled inlays. The smaller concentric circles at the centre are coloured a vivid, lapis-lazuli hued blue. A crescental loop joins two discs together, creating a cross-shape to the overall design. Each loop is further embellished with small diagonal incisions and three small lugs, decorated with the same bright blue enamel. There is a hinge at the reverse, which would of held an original pin, and a rectangular catch plate. A beautiful example of a rare variant.

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: Very fine condition. Some loss of enamel. Pin missing.

In stock

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.

This variety of brooch is a variation of the enamelled disc brooch type. The crescent shaped loops are a rarity compared to similar composite brooches of the time. Other examples have been found with central discs and square enamelled centrepieces. It has been suggested that this particular design was a Rhenish import into Britain.

Weight 10.96 g
Dimensions L 4.2 x W 4.2 cm



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