This book is primarily concerned with the craftsmanship of the Bronzesmiths of Britain and Ireland during the period from the beginning of the first century AD until the end of the seventh century. The period covered takes in a number of eras: the pre-Occupation era of the first century; the Romano-British period; and the so-called Dark Ages. What happened during these seven centuries is treated as a continuing story and only external events and political and religious thinking can have any effect on the forms which were fabricated. The Celts are known to have been expert metal workers and from the artistic point of view they are known to have been expert at designing bold eye-catching patterns. Yet the Celt had no art motifs which can be said to have been endemic to his world, but took over a number of classical patterns and by the exercise of his imagination produced motifs with a compelling personality which is at once seen to be thoroughly Celtic.
The book is divided into four parts, each having its own historical introduction. Irish material is included in each period, since there were close links between the bronzesmiths of Britain and Ireland, and the art of one affected the other. Methods of manufacture are examined, as are the range of styles and the origins of forms and motifs, including isolating some as from certain localised workshops. Originally published in 1980.
Preface. Prologue Part 1: Basic Information 1. Introduction 2. Factories 3. Forms and Motifs 4. Patterns Part 2: Pre- and Early-Invasion Styles 5. Introduction 6. The Galloway Style 7. The Elmswell-Broighter Style 8. The Aesica Style 9. Broken-back Scrolls and Triskeles 10. Trappings 11. Mirrors 12. Weapons 13. Craftsmanship in Ireland i 14. The Soghain and the Cruithin Part 3: Post-Invasion Styles 15. Introduction 16. Beaded Torcs 17. Craftsmanship in Caledonia 18. Dress-fasteners 19. Dragonesque Brooches 20. Horse Trappings 21. Pins, and the Atlantic Province 22. Zoomorphic Penannular Brooches 23. Craftsmanship in Ireland ii Part 4: Post-Occupation Styles 24. Introduction 25. Craftsmanship in Ireland iii 26. Hanging-bowls 27. Epilogue