Plaid Brooch thumbnail 1
Plaid Brooch thumbnail 2
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Jewellery, Rooms 91 to 93 mezzanine, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery

Plaid Brooch

1769 (dated)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The traditional jewellery of Norway and Scotland shows the strong historic and geographic links between the two countries.

In both places the ring brooch is the most distinctive item. Ring brooches can be circular or heart-shaped, and their design dates from the Middle Ages. They differ from modern brooches in the way they fasten. The wearer pulls the cloth of the garment through the central hole, and then spears it with the pin. The greater the strain on the pin, the more secure the fastening.

A plaid was originally a length of woollen material worn in the Highland region of Scotland. The men kilted it round their waist and then threw the end over the shoulder, in a similar way to an Indian sari. Women wore it round their shoulders as a blanket or shawl. The plaid brooch was worn by women to fasten the two sides of the shawl together at the front. As the plaid was made of thick woven material, plaid brooches are usually large and strong.

Plaid brooches made of silver appear in the 17th century. Brooches like this, decorated with a pattern of roundels of interlacing in niello, interspersed with anchor shapes, are typical of Scottish Highland brooches in the second half of the 18th century. This one is inscribed on the back with two sets of initials and a date, which suggests that it was probably a betrothal gift.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Silver with niello
Brief Description
Silver ring brooch (plaid brooch) decorated with niello roundels, Scotland, dated 1769 on back.
Physical Description
Ring brooch of silver decorated with a niello pattern of anchors and roundels. The tang is fastened to a bar recessed in the width of the ring.
Dimensions
  • Diameter: 7.1cm
  • Width: 7.3cm
  • Depth: 1.1cm
Marks and Inscriptions
'HC SC 1769' (Scratched on back of ring.)
Production
Worn by women
Subject depicted
Summary
The traditional jewellery of Norway and Scotland shows the strong historic and geographic links between the two countries.



In both places the ring brooch is the most distinctive item. Ring brooches can be circular or heart-shaped, and their design dates from the Middle Ages. They differ from modern brooches in the way they fasten. The wearer pulls the cloth of the garment through the central hole, and then spears it with the pin. The greater the strain on the pin, the more secure the fastening.



A plaid was originally a length of woollen material worn in the Highland region of Scotland. The men kilted it round their waist and then threw the end over the shoulder, in a similar way to an Indian sari. Women wore it round their shoulders as a blanket or shawl. The plaid brooch was worn by women to fasten the two sides of the shawl together at the front. As the plaid was made of thick woven material, plaid brooches are usually large and strong.



Plaid brooches made of silver appear in the 17th century. Brooches like this, decorated with a pattern of roundels of interlacing in niello, interspersed with anchor shapes, are typical of Scottish Highland brooches in the second half of the 18th century. This one is inscribed on the back with two sets of initials and a date, which suggests that it was probably a betrothal gift.
Collection
Accession Number
M.13-1972

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record createdJuly 1, 2005
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