- Museum number
Copper alloy latchet. Asymmetrical shallow copper alloy casting ornamented on one side only. A broad disc is linked by a z-shaped section with two open slots to a curved hook terminating in a smaller disc. The whole piece is slightly convex. All the reserved surfaces are inlaid with red enamel with fine line ornament in copper alloy. On the large disc four large and four small spirals spring from a central double loop. The large spirals are of two designs and are paired across the disc. Three central fields have lozenge patterns and diminishing chevrons. The collar to the small disc is also inlaid, and the little disc has a pattern of four alternating concave and convex curves. The top and bottom of the 'z' have rounded, ribbed bars with enamelled oval corner settings. Some of the enamel is now missing.
- Production date
Length: 75.90 millimetres
Width: 33 millimetres (disc)
- Curator's comments
The rich colour and overall ornament of this latchet and the way in which the serpentine middle section of earlier forms, such as the Newry example (1913,0715.6), has coalesced into a solid centre, place this piece at the end of a developmental series (Smith 1917-18). The scrolls show no zoomorphic influence, and the distinctive use of enamelled straight-line ornamental patterns in combination with curvilinear ornament is also found on the unique Stoneyford implement (National Museums of Ireland (NMI), Dublin no. 1881:526). The lozenge grid was worked on the sixth-century Dooey motif piece (NMI no. E33:1385), alongside scrolls, and the same combination appears on a terminal, now lost (Henry, F. 1965a. ‘Irish Art during the Early Christina Period to 800 A.D.’, London, 69, fig. 5c described as a latchet).
The appearance of a lozenge grid and sunburst pattern on an unusual hanging-bowl mount from Eastry, Kent, suggests that this was a style not confined to Ireland but which never achieved the popularity of the dominant spiral, pelta and scroll (Longley, D. 1975. ‘Hanging-bowls, Penannular Brooches and the Anglo-Saxon Connection’, BAR, BS 22, Oxford, fig. 10f). The large spirals are of two designs and are paired across the disc (first correctly published in Bruce-Mitford 1983, 271-3).
Date given as 6th-7th century.
Bibliography: ‘Ulster Journal of Archaeology, IX (1861-2), 274; Smith, R.A. 1917-18. Irish serpentine latchets, ‘Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of London’ 2nd ser., XXVIII, 129-30, fig. 15; Smith, R.A. 1923. ‘British Museum Guide to Anglo-Saxon and Foreign Teutonic Antiquities’, London, 132-3; Kilbride-Jones, H. 1980a. ‘Celtic Craftsmanship in Bronze’, London, 212, fig. 211, 5; Bruce-Mitford, R.L.S. 1983. ‘The Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial’, vol. III, ed. Care Evans, London, 271-3.
Bibliography: Haseloff 1990 p.157, pl. 123.
Bibliography: 1853 Dublin Exchange Catologue p.150.
- On display (G41/dc16/sA)
- Exhibition history
2016 11 Mar- 25 Sep, Edinburgh, National Museum of Scotland, Celts.
2015-2016 24 Sep-31 Jan, London, BM, G30, 'Celts: Art and Identity'
1998 18 Apr-12 Jul, Japan, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art, Celtic Art
1991 24 Mar-8 Dec, Italy, Venice, Palazzo Grassi, I Celti - Culture and Civilisation of the Celts
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 1850.
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number