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Home > Auctions > 25th February 2016 > Viking Monumental Brooch with Great Beasts

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LOT 0965

GBP (£) 20,000 - 30,000
EUR (€) 23,680 - 35,520
USD ($) 25,530 - 38,300

3 3/4" (94 grams, 95mm).

A Viking or Anglo-Scandinavian flat-section discoid silver plaque with incised niello-filled ornament, four of the original five domed bosses and plaque to the reverse; the field divided into an outer border and four intersecting rings; the border with running zigzag and notch to the inner edge; the rings reserved on a hatched background with fleshy acanthus-leaf and shell-spiral motifs to the spandrels, a zoomorph within each ring comprising: a serpent with double-looped body, lentoid markings, open jaws with forked tongue; an advancing stag(?) with spiral hips, forked tail and antlers, open mouth with lolling tongue, fillets above the paws; a triple-looped serpent with tridentine tail and tongue; a regardant stag with scrolled shoulder and hip, curled antlers, lolling tongue; to the reverse, an applied propeller-shaped plaque with running zigzag border, shell-spiral fill.

Property of a Scottish gentleman; acquired from continental Europe in the late 1970s; gifted to his daughter in the early 1980s; thence by descent 2004. Supplied with a positive X-Ray Fluorescence metal analysis certificate.

Accompanied by an Art Loss Register certificate.

Cf. the Sutton, Isle of Ely brooch in Backhouse, J., Turner, D.H. & Webster, L. The Golden Age of Anglo-Saxon Art: 966-1066, London, 1984, item 105, and the Anglo-Saxon disc brooch in Statens Historiska Museum, Stockholm, item 17.

The ornament is Anglo-Saxon with influence from contemporary (Ringerike style, 10th century) Scandinavian art, visible in the scrolled hips and other details of the zoomorphs.The brooch is closely similar in many respects to the example from Sutton, Isle of Ely, especially the zigzag border, intersecting ring-based layout, pairs of serpents and quadrupeds. The brooch shows signs of heavy usage wear prior to deposition including the loss of one boss. The plaque to the reverse is partial and shows fractures to each end, and incorporated the pin and catchplate; the Sutton brooch has a corresponding riveted panel with a short runic text, with an extensive Old English owner formula to the reverse.