Lot 952: Merovingian Frankish Cloisonné Purse Fitting
December 7, 2016
Harwich, United KingdomLive Auction
Description: 6th-7th century AD. A finely-made D-shaped mount from the flap of a purse, comprising a copper-alloy base decorated with a geometric pattern executed in cloisonné, with glass panels forming an interlocking curvilinear design in clear, dark blue and cupric green shades; a D-shaped cell containing a shaped and polished crystal, surrounded by a single cell of the same shape (now empty but originally filled with an organic material); the gilded border with a horizontal ropework flange; to the reverse, two attachment pins. Cf. Webster, L. & Backhouse, J. The Making of England. Anglo-Saxon Art and Culture AD 600-900, London, 1991, p.23 item 5(f"). 9.38 grams, 34mm (1 1/2"). From an old English collection; acquired in the 1970s. The cellwork is executed with copper-alloy strips of about 3mm in height. Similar decorative cloisonné techniques are used on the composite brooch in the Canterbury St. Martins Hoard, associated with the Frankish princess, Bertha, who married into the Kentish royal family in the late 6th century.
Condition Report: Fine condition.