Friday, 4 April 2014

Horse brooch fragment -- addendum

Strap junction, Sudeley, Gloucestershire, 
early 1st cent AD                          photo: Nilfanion
This follows British Celtic horse brooch fragment.

I have been looking for an online photograph of the Sudeley strap junction for years. Although it appears in the literature, and is considered one of the masterpieces of the later British styles, as it is not in the British Museum it seemed that I would not be able to show it on this blog.

According to the literature, it is part of the collection of Cheltenham Museum, but it is not mentioned on their website. Yesterday, I came across this BBC article saying "An Iron Age harness fitting, originating from the Cotswolds, is to spend up to five years at the Corinium Museum in Cirencester. It is the first item to be loaned from the British Museum following a new partnership between the two museums." Puzzled by the mention of it being loaned by the British Museum, I wondered if someone might have photographed it at the Corinium Museum, and was delighted to find the photograph on Wikimedia Commons. That "strap junction" and "Sudeley" are not mentioned in its description explains why I had no luck Googling it. This morning, I checked the British Museum site and searched for "Sudeley" again -- still not there. Following the BBC lead, I searched for "Corinium" and there was the photo (but with no mention of "strap junction" or "Sudeley"). It is described both as a "strap-fitting" and (erroneously) a "terret".

With such an embarrassment of photographic riches, I cannot resist including the BM photo as well. The same photograph (cropped) appears in the BBC article.

The matching lower linchpin terminal
For the first time in about two thousand years, the Sudeley strap junction is shown together with the companion lower linchpin terminal in my own collection. I would imagine that the top terminal of the linchpin would have been more like the strap junction showing four "enamel" inlays within its roundel. These four insets find a parallel in the arrangement on the horse brooch, as does the linear and stippled decoration (see previous blog on the subject).

Perhaps I will find more parts from this chariot rig -- I wonder what its terrets looked like.

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