Choose Category:

Home > Auctions > 9th September 2010 > Roman - Enamelled Hippocampus Brooch

Print page | Email lot to a friend

Back to previous page

Use mousewheel to zoom in and out, click to enlarge
Gallery loading...

LOT 705

Sold for (Inc. bp): £863

(15 grams, 52 mm.).

2nd-3rd century AD. A rare type of zoomorphic plate brooch in the form of a hippocamp, a horse with a fish's tail; the head moulded in the round with prominent ear and deep-set circular eye, snub nose and open mouth; the mane indicated by a series of incised lines along the back of the neck; lighter texturing indicated by striations on the chest, back, stomach and tail; the forelegs of the beast modelled as if galloping, with two fins behind; a medial panel of grey-white enamel following the outline of the body, subdivided with vertical blue stripes and three pellets; a bilinear transverse collar developing into a four-part tail, the two larger elements lobed and filled with panels of grey-white enamel.

From an old English collection.

Hattatt has no comparable hippocamp brooches, such is their rarity, but cf. the horse brooch from Norfolk similarly executed in Hattatt, Brooches of Antiquity, Oxford, 1987 item 1182 and the hippocampus brooch from Amiens, item 1205.

The hippocamp remained in use in southern Britain as the principal zoomorphic motif in the Late Roman / Early Saxon Quoit Brooch Style.