Anglo-Saxon Square-Headed Bow Brooches For Sale

Bow brooches are the main alternative form to the discoid types. Derived from Roman fibulæ, bow brooches are characterized by the arched central section which accommodates the folds of the garment to be pinned, be it shift, kirtle, scarf, cowl, mantle, cape or cloak. From relatively humble beginnings the series of brooches quickly develops into a myriad of forms – some small and modest, others large and impressive. The largest type – the Great Square-Headed Brooch – is among the most sought after items from the Anglo-Saxon period, alongside the keystone garnet disc brooch. The Great Square-Headed Brooch is always long (many are up to 17cm overall) and decorated with many zones of cast decoration, chip-carved and often gilded. The Anglo-Saxons took every opportunity for displaying social information (such as rank, wealth and ethnicity) on the surface of these items.

Customers and site-visitors may have noticed that the Anglo-Saxon site pages have been revised. As part of our ongoing programme of improving the quality and reliability of our site, all of the ‘Saxon’ pages have been amended in the light of further detailed research. We aim to roll this out across the rest of the site in due course. Please check back for updates.

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Anglo-Saxon 'Style I' Great Square-Headed Brooch 027461

Rare Anglo-Saxon 'Style I' Great Square-Headed Brooch
Gilt-bronze, 65 grams, 128 mm. 6th-7th century AD. A great square-headed brooch with rectangular headplate decorated with billetting and Style I ornament; the bow shallow and three-ribbed; the lozengiform footplate with central rib, plain side-lobes and terminal lobe; the pin-lugs and catchplate on the reverse substantially intact; the heavy surface gilding remaining in the incised areas of the design. Reference: Hines, J. A. A New Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Great Square-Headed Brooches, similar in layout to the example from Faversham, Hines's plate 61(b).. Very fine condition, some restoration. Provenance: ex Winter collection.
£850.00

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Anglo-Saxon 'Style I' Great Square-Headed Brooch 027461
Anglo-Saxon 'Small Square-Headed' Bow Brooch 024801

Beautiful Anglo-Saxon 'Small Square-Headed' Bow Brooch
Gilt copper-alloy, 10.14 grams, 43.34 mm. Circa 6th century AD. A small square-headed bow brooch cast in copper-alloy and gilded. The headplate is rectangular with concentric raised borders, the median one notched. The bow is shallow with longitudinal ribbed detailing. The footplate is lozengiform with remains of discoid lobes to the sides, foot missing. At the shoulders are two addorsed Style I bird-heads. To the reverse, the pin-lug and catchplate are in place. Reference: MacGregor, A. & Bolick, E. A Summary Catalogue of the Anglo-Saxon Collections (Non-Ferrous Metals), Oxford, 1993 item 14.7. Extremely fine condition. Provenance: from an important London collection, acquired 1989 inventory no.89.8 / cat.2040.
£450.00

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Anglo-Saxon 'Small Square-Headed' Bow Brooch 024801
Anglo-Saxon 'Openwork' Child's Square-Headed Brooch 020520

Anglo-Saxon 'Openwork' Child's Square-Headed Brooch
Gilt copper-alloy, 7.05 grams, 42.53 mm. 6th-7th century AD. A finely-made small square-headed brooch of classic form. The headplate has a billeted border and a series of crescent punchmarks around three sides; three reserved-cross punchmarks complete the headpate design. The bow is plain and carinated. The lozengiform footplate shares the crescent punchmark design; two dot-punched lappets spring from the base of the bow and join the footplate. The catchplate is intact on the reverse; the pin is represented by a ferrous accretion behind the headplate. These brooches were usually worn by females in pairs at the shoulders; the present example is unusual in not having a rectangular panel on the headplate. Reference: cf. MacGregor, A. and Bolick, E. A Summary Catalogue of the Anglo-Saxon Collections (Non-Ferrous Metals), Oxford, 1993 p.121 item 14.1. Very fine condition. Provenance: from an old English collection.
£550.00

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Anglo-Saxon 'Openwork' Child's Square-Headed Brooch 020520
Anglo-Saxon 'Sub-group III' Great Square Headed Brooch 021309

Anglo-Saxon 'Sub-group III' Great Square-Headed Brooch
Copper-alloy gilt, 51.68 grams, 131 mm. 5th-6th century AD. A cast copper-alloy great square-headed brooch of sub-group iii with rectangular headplate, shallow bow and lozengiform foot. The headplate has a square panel above the bow bearing a Style I animal, flanked by wings (one present) formed with zoomorphic elements and a plain outer border. The bow is provided with raised edges, a central strip and square stud. The footplate is lozengiform, with addorsed animal-head lappets at the junction with the bow and segmented borders running to the terminal. A pair of discoid plates (one missing) form the side-lobes and a larger one forms the terminal lobe. The surface retains some gilding. On the reverse, the pin-lug and catchplate are in place. The brooch's surface is detailed with Style I motifs and the designs are modelled clearly. Reference: cf. the examples from Lechlade grave 57 (headplate masks), Great Chesterford (lobes), Broughton Lodge (bow), Berinsfield grave 107 (footplate) in Hines, J. A New Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Great Square-Headed Brooches, Woodbridge, 1997 plates 8b, 53a, 77a, 92a. Fine condition, repaired. Provenance: found County Durham.
£750.00

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Anglo-Saxon 'Sub-group III' Great Square Headed Brooch 021309
Anglo-Saxon 'Child's Square-Headed' Bow Brooch 019891

Rare Anglo-Saxon 'Child's Square-Headed' Bow Brooch
Copper-alloy, 4.21 grams, 33.75 mm. 5th-6th century AD. The small square-headed brooch is a diminutive version of the great square-headed type, with decorative headplate, shallow bow and lozengiform footplate. The present example has Style I detail in the centre of the headplate and on the finial of the footplate. The pin-lug and catchplate are present on the reverse. Reference: MacGregor, A. & Bolick, E. A Summary Catalogue of the Anglo-Saxon Collections (Non-Ferrous Metals), BAR British Series 230, 1993, p.123 items 14.7. Very fine condition with most of the original gilding intact. Provenance: found Winchester, England.
£325.00

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Anglo-Saxon 'Child's Square-Headed' Bow Brooch 019891
Anglo-Saxon 'Garnet Cloison' Square-Headed Bow Brooch 019902

Anglo-Saxon 'Garnet Cloison' Square-Headed Bow Brooch
Copper-alloy, gilt and garnet, 10.24 grams, 32.74 mm. 5th-7th century AD. A richly decorated bow brooch comprising a rectangular headplate and bow. The headplate comprises a median rectangular panel with inset cabochon garnet and thick raised border; outside this is a u-shaped panel of Style I decoration, outside which is a flat narrow border with punched chevron detailing. The bow is carinated and bears a median rib. The footplate was lost in antiquity. The pin-lug is partly present on the reverse. Reference: cf. the small square-headed brooches from Chatham Lines (Kent) in MacGregor, A. & Bolick, E. A Summary Catalogue of the Anglo-Saxon Collections (Non-Ferrous Metals), BAR British Series 230, 1993, p.123 items 14.9. Very fine condition. Provenance: from an old English collection.
£245.00

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Anglo-Saxon 'Garnet Cloison' Square-Headed Bow Brooch 019902


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