Romano-British Openwork Celtic Brooch


A fine Romano-British non-enamelled brooch. The brooch is cast from bronze, and features an intricate and stylised openwork design – perhaps representing the Celtic palmette motif. The brooch is composed of a globular shape, which tapers up to a rounded point that sits left from centre on the top of the brooch. On the reverse, unfortunately the pin and hinge of the brooch no longer remain. We see some brown patination and earthly encrustations on the brooch.

Date: AD 150-225
Provenance: From a Surrey gentleman's collection (D.G.), purchased on the London Art market from ADA member, 1990s - onwards.
Condition: The open work itself is in good condition, with only minor red patination. However, the pin and hinge on the reverse have been destroyed.


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.

Brooches as this fine example fall within the ‘Openwork Non-enamelled’ type. Dating between AD 150 -225, these Roman-period brooches are mainly characterised by Celtic traditional motifs in different levels of elaboration. They appear to have been developed in the central European provinces of the Empire, specifically around Germany and Pannonia, with only a few examples recovered in Britain or Gaul.

Weight 14.80 g
Dimensions L 3.9 x W 3.8 x H 0.5 cm




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