The Battersea Shield


British Museum

British Museum

The Battersea Shield is not in fact a complete shield, but only the facing, a metal cover that was attached to the front of wooden shield. It is made from different parts of sheet bronze (4 sheets and 3 decorated panels), held together with bronze rivets and enclosed in a binding strip. All the rivets are hidden by overlaps between different components where the panels and roundels were originally attached to the organic backing.

The decoration is concentrated in the three roundels. A high domed boss in the middle of the central roundel is over where the handle was located. The La Tène-style decoration is made using the repoussé technique, emphasized with engraving and stippling. The overall design is highlighted with twenty-seven framed studs of red glass 'enamel' (opaque red glass) in four different sizes, the largest set at the centre of the boss. The dominant repoussé forms on the shield are the palmette and interlocking S-motifs.

It is on display in the major exhibitions on Celts at the British Museum and National Museum of Scotland:

Celts: art and identity
The British Museum
24 September 2015 – 31 January 2016

National Museum of Scotland
10 March – 25 September 2016

The Battersea Shield has a permanent location at the British Museum in Room 50.

Show lessRead more