University of Oxford
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Kentish composite disc brooch

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posted on 2021-10-26, 15:09 authored by Helena HamerowHelena Hamerow
Composite gold disc brooch, diam. max. 4.9cm. This brooch has a stout silver disc for backplate pierced by one gold rivet from behind central boss. The cloisonné front joined to it by packing of paste and space between them covered up by horizontally grooved sheet gold rim with milling along top.At front the majority of the cloisonné work was attached to a second plate, secured to back only by central rivet and rim, which is now concealed by the rim. At centre a slightly raised roundel in beaded wire frame with very fine beaded wire inside it, and inside this again an even more prominent cell, with identical framing, set with a thick garnet with flat top inraised sheet gold collar - at centre a circular hole, where something has been lost, at bottom of which is disc of chequered gold foil. The space between occupied by 6 radiating cloisons framing now empty cells. Around this central feature, is a ring of garnet cloisonné work, comprised of angular mushroom cells, alternately upside down, linked together. Garnets all flat and sat on chequered foil. Touching outer edge of this ring and the rim of brooch are four regularly spaced round cells, now empty. Around rest of rim is a narrow band of cloisonné work, consisting of triangles, alternately upside down, with stepped cloisons between. Triangles seem to have been filled by flat settings of blue glass, or lapis(?), but most are now missing. The rest of the cloisons set with flat garnets on gold chequered foil. Set between the empty roundels, in centre against inner edge of outer zone of cloisons, are semicircular cells, with stepped cells at centre. These seem all to have been set with garnets. The remaining space occupied with gold filigree work, on sheet gold backing with fine beaded wire frames around adjacent cells, which is mounted on paste so as to be nearly flush with top of cells. These filigree panels divided laterally into 3 strips by fine beaded wire borders; in outer one beaded wire omegas alternately upside down, in middle one gold granules with beaded wire collars, in inner one peltas in beaded wire.The empty roundels and the 6 radiating cells around central boss were empty when brooch was found and now contain a hard grey paste: this seeems to have been present when Inventorium Sepulchrale drawings made so it may have been added by Faussett (putty?). For the rest, many of the individual cells in outer border and semicircles have lost their stones, and have been filled with red and blue paint. Otherwise the brooch is not badly damaged, the filigree work only slightly rubbed, though the rim is worn in places.On back, broken catchplate, and twin lugs with transverse iron bolt secured pin. The iron bolt transfixes not a metal pin, but a piece of decayed organic matter now powdery and green-stained, which seems to be back of pin. It does not seem to be bone. Very strange.N.B. All cell work in gold. Rim analysed: 88% gold, 12% silver.


Grave ID

Guilton Grave 42

Object ID


Catalogue Number

M 6006


gold, white metal, backing paste, garnet, iron, organic, gold, inlay (Sonia Hawkes Material Notes; gold, silver, backing paste, garnets, iron, organic) (Antiquarian Material; copper, gold, gold foil, garnets)

Complete Keyword List (Including Alternatives)

Kentish brooch (Sonia Hawkes Keyword; brooch) (Antiquarian Keyword; fibula subnectens)




National Museums Liverpool


Mayer Collection

Original Collection


Category ID


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    The Novum Inventorium Sepulchrale


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