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LOT 0635

Sold for (Inc. bp): £7,440

3 1/4" (70 grams, 81mm).

A D-section gold penannular bracelet of European type with splayed and clubbed finials.

Property of an Essex collector; acquired 1970s. Supplied with a positive X-Ray Fluorescence metal analysis certificate.

Accompanied by an Art Loss Register certificate.

Cf. Taylor, J.T. Bronze Age Goldwork of the British Isles, Cambridge, 1980, plate 53b.

Goldwork first appeared in western Europe in the early second millennium BC and is associated with high status individuals; in Britain the natural enrichment of the native metal by tin and copper suggest alluvial sources for the gold and the main sources for gold throughout the Bronze Age would have been from Brittany, Cornwall, Wales, Scotland, west and north Ireland, as well as the central European area of Transylvania. Gold played a valued role in prehistoric society, principally being found in elite burials and the objects were not simply art or ornamentation but probably designated both the high social rank of the individual as well as their tribal/political, religious and occupational status. The British Isles were the dominant centre for gold work and although there were links with Brittany, the latter area seems to have lacked the same skills to work gold until a later date. British gold work is noted for its highly burnished finish which required considerable skill and man hours to produce. The most common gold ornaments from the period take the form of buttons, hair rings, lunulae, bracelets and ornamentation for daggers. The style of bracelet as seen in this example, with the flaring ends, became popular in the late Bronze Age and carried on into the Iron Age across much of Europe. Similar examples to this one can be seen in the Milton Keynes hoard and an example found at Beaumaris on Anglesey, all of which are now in the British Museum.