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LOT 0475

GBP (£) 1,500 - 2,000
EUR (€) 1,760 - 2,350
USD ($) 2,090 - 2,790

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£1,200 (EUR 1,410; USD 1,672) (+bp*)

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Bid History: 0

Early Christian Irish Cross Mount

7th-8th century AD

A flat-section bronze equal-arm cross mount, four pelta-shaped arms with a recessed panel, Insular style triquetra knotwork motif to each panel, the centre with a spiral trumpet motif. 4.16 grams, 24mm (1"). Fine condition.

Property of a Cleethorpes collector; acquired from a Mr Harrison, a Lincolnshire farmer; found Lincolnshire, UK in the 1990s; accompanied by an archaeological report by Dr Raffaele D’Amato.

See Metropolitan Museum of Art, Treasures of early Irish art, 1500 B.C. to 1500 A.D.: from the collections of the National Museum of Ireland, Royal Irish Academy, Trinity College, Dublin / exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, New York, 1978; Hencken, H., Price, L., Start, L.E., Lagore Crannog, an Irish Royal Residence of the 7th to 10th century AD, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, vol.53, Dublin, 1950-1951, pp.1-247, fig.11 (decorated bronzes) and pl.XIV; Youngs, S. (ed.), The Work of Angels. Masterpieces of Celtic Metalwork, 6th-9th centuries AD, London, 1989, item 157a (two Irish motif pieces in the same decorative style); Laing, L., A catalogue of Celtic Ornamental Metalwork in the British Isles, c AD 400-1200, Oxford, 1993, item 259 (copper-alloy crozier with the same decorative style).

The appliqué may have formed part of a harness or bridle furniture, or used as a belt or bowl mount, or likely was a part of a religious item. The Insular Style was common to religious foundations in parts of Britain and Ireland in the 8th century. The decoration of the mount finds good parallels with the ornamentation of the central discs of the Lagore buckle (Youngs, 1989, fig.59), with spirals of decreasing size in line with the La Tène tradition. The spiral of our cross also recalls the very complicated spirals and interlaces of the Tara Brooch. The foliate design with sharp-angled interlace finds a strong correspondence with objects from Dumfries, very late (12th century AD) but this characteristic pattern of triquetra is already present on Irish decorated bones of 7th-8th century from Moynagh Lough, and visible on the well-known cross of Carndonagh (Metropolitan, 1978, p.100, fig.25).