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"Anglo-saxon, Irish"
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    Gold torques (neckbands) from Ipswich, Suffolk; Snettisham, Norfolk, and Needwood Forest, Staffordshire, Great Britain (2nd half 1st BCE)

    09-01-02/ 3

    The end of a gold torque (neckband) found in 1959 at Snettisham, Norfolk, Great Britain (2nd half 1st BCE)


    The Settisham Great Torc, Iron Age, around 75 BCE. Made from 64 threads, eight threads twisted together to make 8 separate ropes of metal; these were twisted around each other to make the final torc. The ends of the torc were cast in moulds. The torc is made from over a kg of gold mixed with silver. Found 1950 in Snettisham, GB. P&EE, 1951 4-2 2


    The Settisham Great Torc, Iron Age, around 75 BCE,detail. Made from 64 threads, eight threads twisted together to make 8 separate ropes of metal; these were twisted around each other to make the final torc. The ends of the torc were cast in moulds. The torc is made from over a kg of gold mixed with silver. Found 1950 in Snettisham, GB. P&EE, 1951 4-2 2


    Heavy gold torque (1st BCE-1st CE).


    Gold belt buckle fom the ship-burial at Sutton Hoo, Suffolk, early 7th century. It is hollow and made in two parts joined by a hinge. The master-craftsman who made it devised a locking system involving a complex system of sliders and internal rods which fit into slotted fixings. These fill the interior leaving little space for the safe storage of a relic, a function which has been suggested for such hollow, high-status buckles. The surface of the buckle and the tongue plate are decorated with writhing snakes and intertwining four legged beasts. Their bodies are highlighted with punched ornament filled with black niello. At the toe of the buckle, two animals gently hold a tiny dog-like creature in their gaping jaws. On the shoulders are two birds' heads with cruel, curving beaks (perhaps a reference to Odin, a god from Norse mythology). The metal and decoration of these buckles reflected the wealth and status of their owners. M&ME, 1939,10-10,1


    Gold disc pendant decorated with filigree and garnet inlay, Anglo-Saxon, early 7th century. From Acklam Wold, near Acklam, North Yorkshire. This is one of the largest and finest of many surviving Anglo-Saxon disc pendants. Disc pendants have been found across Anglo-Saxon England and reflect the increasing uniformity of fashion across the developing Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. They were often decorated with cross motifs, suggesting a growing awareness of Christianity among the general population in the seventh century. The pendant demonstrates a range of jewellery techniques. In the centre a shell boss in a dog-tooth bezel is set with a central garnet. Garnets with shell collars are typical of high-status belt-buckles and disc-brooches from the period. Four V-shaped 'cross' arms linking the central bezel to the rim were fashioned in pseudo-plaited wire. Four garnet cabochons are set between the arms. The V-shaped and semi-circular wires are formed of triple strands of beaded filigree wire. Although relatively simple to execute, the wire decoration creates a rich and glittering surface.


    Shrine boss, Irish, first half of the 8th century. This once sumptuously decorated boss was cast in bronze and then thickly gilded. The decoration consists of complex animal interlace, and trumpet and spiral decoration with panels containing twenty-four settings, now all empty, which held glass, crystal or amber giving the boss a rich glittering appearance. Four highly stylized lions crouching on the sides divide it into quarters. A ring of black niello frames plain gold troughs once filled with panels of filigree, surrounding a big hole where a large setting once lay. The exceptional decoration and casting put it at the pinnacle of Irish art. It would originally have been attached to a shrine, along with four others, to form a cross-shape. It was apparently found in a church at Steeple Bumpstead, Essex, during construction work, stored in a chest and then for years used as a handle to the chancel door where it was noted in 1842. M&ME, 1916,7-5,1


    Anglo-Saxon work,perhaps from Northumbria,between 700 and 750.Wooden core,sheetgold and glasspaste.Golden arabesques in vineform,animals.The cross may have been ordered for Salzburg by Irish bishop Virgil and used during the consecration of the cathedral in 744.H:158


    The Londesborough Brooch, Irish, 8th-9th century. The Londesborough brooch is unusual in that all its fine decoration is cast and no filigree was used. The brooch is a heavy silver ring cast with complex patterns of interlace, spirals, animal and bird motifs and then thickly gilded on the front. Seven circular amber settings on the hoop compliment the gold. The pin was made from three pieces and the head is decorated in a style to match the hoop, with a large domed boss and amber at its centre. Two L-shaped fields at the top corners once held blue glass. The back of the brooch is also decorated with amber and has as well two inset gilt-bronze discs with Celtic triskeles. M&ME, 1888,7-19,101


    The Strickland Brooch, Anglo-Saxon, mid-9th century. Plain gold panels enrich a lively pattern of dog-like animals with collars, deeply carved to form an openwork effect. The quatrefoil is divided by animal heads and raised bosses. The arms of the central cruciform (cross-shaped) motif, with another boss at its centre, end with four identical heads at the edge. The Anglo-Saxon love of colour and light is clear from the black niello inlay and blue glass eyes which make the decoration stand out. Small dots punched into some areas give it a sparkling appearance. Gold was scarce and highly prized at the time. This style, called 'Trewhiddle' after a Cornish hoard, is typical of fine Anglo-Saxon metalwork of the ninth century. The brooch, which could also be worn as a pendant, is named after the Strickland family of Yorkshire, and may have belonged to Sir William Strickland, a keen collector of antiquities in the nineteenth century. M&ME, 1949,7-2,1


    Reliquary and "Bell of St. Patrick". The Irish Saint lived 385-461.

    30-01-04/ 7

    "Brooch of Tara" Goldwork found on Bettystown Heath, Ireland

    30-01-02/ 2

    "Brooch of Tara" - detail Goldwork found on Bettystown Heath, Ireland

    30-01-02/ 1

    Cross of Cong (1123-1130-1136) Goldwork

    30-01-02/ 3

    Reliquary chest, wood, silver gilded.

    30-01-02/ 6