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Brass Highland Scottish Sporran Cantle Dating to the First Half of the 18th Century

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Price: £1,450

Ref: 25.14

Item Description

A mid 18th Century brass sporran cantle of slightly splayed part-octagonal form fashioned from thick brass front and back parts. The rear section is made with an upper rim underneath which the original iron and sprung steel parts of the closing mechanism are attached. When worn the visible front and top sections are smoothly finished whilst the backward face of the rear section is fixed with iron belt hoops, left rough and crudely incised with a capital letter “F”.

Two brass riveted hinges finished with knops hold the cantle together. Eleven circular holes are present on the base of the front cantle portion, and eleven to the rear, to which the bag of the sporran was once stitched. Above these to the front nine dot and concentric ring marks are present interspersed, mainly in pairs, with a further eighteen of smaller size. These designs are of typical Scottish form for the period and often appear on early 18th century Scottish pistols and basket hilted sword hilts used by the Highland clans. Two raised fixed decorative latches flank the opening knob in the middle of the upper surface. Four further decorative knops are present either side which have decorative function.

Whilst sporrans are a common enough feature from Victorian times to today, early 18th century Highland sporrans are now rare due to the government imposed proscription of Highland dress for nearly a quarter of a century after the failure of the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion. As a result, sporran cantles of this nature form a unique representation of pre-Rebellion Highland culture.

The cantle measures 6.25 inches (16 cm) wide from hinge to hinge.

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