saxon long brooch ashmolean

I took this picture of an early Saxon period long brooch in the Asmolean last weekend. I rather like the severity of it and fancy making a replica to wear, but I’m a little confused by it.

It’s those two rivets that join the bow to the spear shaped part – I can’t decide if they’re part of the design or a repair.

My metalsmithing head insists it would be a bit stupid to put rivets there as it would create weakness, and if this was used to fasten a peplos dress it would be put under considerable strain. Therefore my metalsmithing head concludes this to be a repair, perhaps necessitated by the strain of use (metal fatigue can strike at the oddest times)

I kind of look at it thinking it would be fun to forge it from one solid lump of metal, and that this could result in an extremely satisfying thing, but would it be authentic or too conjectural to approach it that way?

I suppose they could be decorative rivets, but they seem a little clumsy to me, and contrary to the otherwise simple design (but then that could just be me trying to argue myself into a corner)


anybody know more than me and got an opinion? Or just an opinion?

~ by opusanglicanum on March 21, 2013.

12 Responses to “quandry”

  1. Well only that your talents appear endless.

    • nope, definately not endless – they stop at being able to ever find anything useful in the online collection of the ashmolean – I swear theres nothing they display in the galleries that’s actually listed online, its very frustrating

  2. I say it’s a repair, there are clearly stress marks and rough edges that have been filed down in the shoulders around the rivets, the rivets are also uneven and the upper part of the blade appears to have been reshaped to fit the width of the shoulder again.

  3. … but how does one wear it? I mean, do you really stab that blade-part-thing through your clothes?


  4. You’re right, it is hard to work out unless you’re able to pick it up and study it from both sides.

  5. First visit to the Ashmolean a few weeks ago, I wish I lived closer so I could go whenever I fancied. But tell me how did you find the time as your always so busy creating?

  6. It certainly looks intriguing!

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