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Fuller brooch

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The Fuller Brooch is a piece of 9th century Anglo-Saxon jewellery.

It is a large disc of hammered sheet silver inlaid with black niello and with a diameter of 11.4 cm. Its centre roundel is decorated with personifications of the five senses. In the centre is Sight with large staring oval eyes, surrounded by the other four senses, each in his own compartment. To the upper left is Taste, with his hand in his mouth. To the upper right is Smell, whose hands are behind his back as he stands between two tall stylized plants. To the lower right, is Touch who rubs his hands together. To the lower left is Hearing who holds his right hand to his ear. This is the earliest known representation of the five senses personified. In the outer border are sixteen roundels containing human, bird, animal and plant motifs.

The brooch has survived in almost perfect condition, although it is missing its pin, and may be the only surviving piece of secular Anglo-Saxon metalwork to remain unburied since its creation. It was thought to be a fake by Sir Hercules Read, a curator of the British Museum, because of its excellent condition. He advised the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford which had been lent the brooch, to take it off display. It was then bought by Captain A. W. F. Fuller for the price of the silver. After the discovery of the Strickland Brooch, additional research determined that the type of niello used in the Fuller Brooch was used only in the early medieval period. In 1952 Capt. Fuller donated the brooch to the British Museum.

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Reference

  • Wilson, David M. Anglo-Saxon art : from the seventh century to the Norman conquest. Woodstock, N.Y. : Overlook Press, 1984.