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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site


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  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    One of two designs for tassels, from the 'Jewellery Book'; spiral-bound rope leading to a herring-bone covered knop and basket-weave hemisphere below hung with foliate drops terminating in bunches of grapes Pen and black ink, with grey wash; cut down

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1532-1543 (circa)
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 154 millimetres
    • Width: 35 millimetres
  • Curator's comments

    See David Starkey, 'Henry VIII: A European Court in England', exh.cat. 1991, p.135, no.IX.17 See also SL,5308.1-179

    Rowlands 1993
    LITERATURE: Reid, pl. 20; Woltmann, ii, p. 136, no. 199, 123; His, pl. xliii, 7; LB, ii, p. 334, no. 25e; Ganz, p. 73, no. 430, repr.; White, p. 566, no. 125

    Tassels like these have not survived but can be seen in portraits of Henry VIII by followers of Holbein, many painted after the King's death, based on the Whitehall mural, in which he is shown variously dressed with changes of costume and jewellery. An excellent example is that in the Library at Chatsworth (VAM, ‘Court Jewels’, p. 100, no. P4, col. repr. p. 32), in which there is a large bejewelled tassel beneath the dagger, which Janet Arnold has compared with the description of a tassel in the 1550 inventory of Henry VIII's jewels (British Library, Add. Ms. 46,348): "a tassell for a Dagger of gold garneshed with small stones and perles having a Clocke in the toppe set with a cristall".


  • Bibliography

    • Binyon 25(e) bibliographic details
    • Rowlands 362(a) bibliographic details
    • Ganz 430 bibliographic details
  • Location

    German Roy XVIc

  • Exhibition history

    1960, BM, Sloane Drawings, (no cat.) 1988, BM, 'The Age of Dürer and Holbein', no.206 1991, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, 'Henry VIII', no.IX.17

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

    Treatment date

    5 August 1993

    Reason for treatment

    Temporary Exhibition

    Treatment proposal

    Lift, remove verso debris, repair skinning etc. (if necessary). Inlay into one sheet with others. Mount with individual apertures. Stamp mount. . .


    Adhered to mount with others.

    Treatment details

    Lifted. Removed verso debris and adhesive. Inlayed into one sheet with others, mounted with individual apertures. Mount stamped.

    About these records 

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Transferred from the Dept. of Manuscripts to Prints + Drawings on 20 July 1860. For a history of the contents of Sloane 5308, see SL,5308.1.

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • Add.5308.a (Dept. of Manuscripts Mss no.)


If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: collectiondatabase@britishmuseum.org 

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Object reference number: PDO3552

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