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Button

Button

  • Place of origin:

    Iceland (made)

  • Date:

    19th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver sheet with openwork filigree

  • Museum number:

    471-1901

  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91 to 93 mezzanine, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 69, shelf B, box 13

Lapland and Iceland are the most remote areas of north-west Europe. Their traditional jewellery retains many medieval characteristics lost elsewhere.

Buttons and clasps were mostly used for decoration. Women in Iceland wore large buttons of this kind, typically in sets of three, to hold their decorative aprons in place at the waistband. Many were round or hemispherical, but shallow, drum-shaped buttons like this one are typically and uniquely Icelandic.

Icelandic silversmiths had worked occasionally in filigree since the Middle Ages, but by the middle of the 19th century it had become their favourite technique. This button shows all the characteristics of Icelandic filigree. The pattern is clear, regular, and slightly asymmetric. It has small pendant filigree hearts (three are missing) in the same technique. It is made of open filigree, which is riveted to the front of the hollow button, not soldered. It could only come from Iceland.

Physical description

Hollow drum-shaped button decorated with open filigree on the front and sides. One large and two (originally five) smaller heart-shaped pendants of filigree hanging from the front.

Place of Origin

Iceland (made)

Date

19th century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Silver sheet with openwork filigree

Dimensions

Diameter: 4.7 cm, Length: 5.1 cm, Depth: 3.5 cm

Descriptive line

Large silver drum-shaped button with filigree decoration and three pendant filigree hearts, Iceland, 19th century.

Production Note

Worn by women

Materials

Silver

Techniques

Filigree

Subjects depicted

Heart

Categories

Jewellery; Metalwork

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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