Celtic art, £8.99
Diameter: 1.900 cm (head)
From the collection of Lord Londesborough
Prehistory and Europe
Irish or Pictish, 5th-6th century AD
Status on show with a precious heirloom
This huge silver pin would have been used on an
outer garment. Like the great medieval Irish
'handpins', the thick head is offset from a
tapering shank. The disc has a pattern of three 'C'
scrolls back-to-back, a motif that continued from the Iron Age
Celtic tradition into the middle ages. On the shaft below the disc
are panels of stamped and
The use of precious metal, the size of the pin and the craftsmanship are clear statements of prestige. As a treasured heirloom, the pin has also been carefully repaired. Although it is not known where the pin was found, the use of silver and details shared with the few other disc-headed pins suggest that this pin was made in Ireland, possibly in the north. This, in turn, reflects access to silver and contact with the Pictish peoples of north-west Britain.
S.M. Youngs (ed.), The work of angels: masterpiec (London, The British Museum Press, 1989)