- Museum number
Leaded copper alloy latchet with plain circular head-plate linked by an s-shaped shank to a flat terminal hook. Two substantial coils of copper alloy wire sit on alternate curves of the shank and were used to attach the latchet to clothing.
- Production date
Diameter: 75 millimetres (disc)
Length: 176 millimetres
- Curator's comments
This substantial but undecorated piece is one of a number of similar latchets, six of which are said to have been found at Slane Castle, Co. Meath (Smith 1917-18, 126). It has retained a pair of attachment coils, but despite its apparently 'late' size does not have a thickened section on the curved shank, considered a late feature on other similar latchets. The sickle-shaped terminal is also eye-catching and related to the decorated terminal on another latchet held by National Museums of Ireland (W.492). This may represent a regional style, one favoured by the Irish west midlands. The large undecorated spaces are unusual in the context of contemporary Irish metalwork, but another example from Portora, Co. Fermanagh, is equally plain and the wire coils show that this latchet was a finished piece and in use. It is perhaps early evidence that Irish smiths were happy to leave quite large surfaces unadorned, a feature of eighth-century church metalwork; more prosaically, however, it was probably merely cheaper to produce.
Date given as 6th-7th century.
Bibliography: ‘Ulster Journal of Archaeology’, IX, 1861-2, pl.i, fig. I, 271; Smith, R.A. 1917-18. Irish serpentine latchets, ‘Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of London’ 2nd ser., XXVIII, 126.
Bibliography: 1853 Dublin Exchange Catologue p.149.
- On display (G41/dc16/sA)
- Exhibition history
2001-2002 12 Dec-28 Feb, Leeds, Henry Moore Institute, The Unidentified Museum Object
1990-1991 Oct-Feb, Edinburgh, Royal Museum of Scotland, The Work of Angels: Masterpieces of Irish Metalwork
1990 7 May-30 Sep, Dublin, National Museum of Ireland, The Work of Angels: Masterpieces of Irish Metalwork
1989-1990 29 Nov-29 Apr, London, British Museum, The Work of Angels: Masterpieces of Irish Metalwork
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Found in 1849.
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number