Kingston Brooch


About this object

'Kingston Brooch' from Grave 205, a female burial. This is a composite brooch made of two plates of gold bounded together by a strip of beaded gold wire filigree the interior of which has been filled with a white clay like substrance and secured by three clasps of gold set close together across the filigree on the rim. The front plate is slightly convex and this is to ensure that the concentric pattern does not lose its perspective and individuality. The overall design is of modified crusiform pattern with a central boss. There are five concentric rings of gold cloisons. among them there are step shaped, square, triangular and semicircular ones each soldered to each other and to the neighbours at their point of contact. The carpet effect of garnet and gold is therefore interrupted by the well spaced triangular and step shaped designs of blue glass and by the four square shells of a deep red garnet (one of the squares has lost its garnet ). There are a central and four satelitte bosses with a white shell-like material which originally had a waxy surface. On the back there is an animal head catch plate for the bronze pin and the drum like head of the pin and its surround are enriched with gold wire filigree. The head of the pin is also jewelled with garnets and there is a safety loop for securing the loop to the dress.
The cloisons and the units of filigree are prescribed with precisions and consist of fine beaded gold wire soldered to a prepared ground of gold on which the outline of the pattern had already been raised. The twisted knot and the interlace pattern is a bold translation of the familiar Teutonic backward biting quadradep. The fine execution of the brooch markes the period of the wealth and political ascendancy of the Jutes under Aethilberht in the 7th century.

Ancient repair on rim, three gold clips fasten plates together. Some cells missing. This is the largest known Anglo-Saxon composite brooch.

The brooch was found in an unusually rich woman's grave , along with a circular gold pendant ( M6231 ), a pair of silver safety-pin brooches (M6234 & M6235 ) a glass palm cup ( M6228 ), a bronze hanging-bowl with enamelled escutcheons and print, and a two-handled bronze pan with trivet and iron chatelaine, remains of a wooden box with iron fittings, a pottery vessel,

Object specifics

  • Type
    Personal Ornament
  • Culture
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Europe: Northern Europe: UK: England
  • Date made
    7th Century AD early
  • Materials
    Glass; Gold; Foil Gold; Pearl; Shell; Garnet
  • Location
    World Museum, Level 3, Weston Discovery Centre
  • Acquisition
    Gift of Joseph Mayer
  • Collector
    Bryan Rev Faussett
  • Place collected
    Europe: Northern Europe: UK: England: Kent: Kingston
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    85 mm x 177.1845 g
  • Note
    Avent 1975 composite class 3.2; 7th Century found with glass palm cup; suggested date last quarter of 6th Century to very early 7th Century. Inv. Sep., pp. 77-78, pl. 1, fig. 1. Jessup Anglo-Saxon Jewellery, p. 72ff., pl. 20, pls. A, XXIV. Birmingham Museum Exhibition Catalogue, p. 56 and from Isprece 1960. Med. Arch. xxi (1977) pp. 16-26. Was used on BBC programme 'Animal, Vegetable, Mineral' on 4 March 1959, along with 7 other artefacts. For more information on the programme see the Loan File.
  • Related people
    Bryan Rev Faussett ( Collector, previous owner); Godfrey Faussett ( Previous owner); Joseph Mayer ( Previous owner)


Previous owners

  • Joseph Mayer

    Owned from: 1854
    How acquired: Purchased
    Owned until: 1867
    Disposal method: Donation
  • Godfrey Faussett

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: By descent
    Owned until: 1854
    Disposal method: Sold
  • Bryan Rev Faussett

    Owned from: 1771-08-05
    How acquired: Collected
    Owned until: 1776-10-10
    Disposal method: Bequest
Object view = Humanities
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