Blackfriars Bridge (part five)

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Military Machines

Sudbury Hill

Welsh Rarebit

Maida Vale

Gold griffin-headed armlet


Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), Isabella Brant

Discus-thrower (discobolos)

Commemorative head of Queen Idia

Caffeine in Tea

English folk art and taxidermy - Stewart Tuckniss

Samurai sword blade


Matching teas and cakes

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Gold griffin-headed armlet

This large gold armlet is one of a pair. Originally the hollow spaces would have contained inlays of glass or semi-precious stones. It is made in a style typical of the imperial court of the ancient Achaemend Persians, and pictures of similar armlets are depicted as tribute offerings on reliefs at their capital of Persepolis in Iran. The Greek writer Xenophon (born c. 430 BC) wrote that armlets were among the items considered gifts of honour at the Persian court.
Great Torc from Snettisham

Large impressive pieces of jewellery made of precious metals have been held in high esteem in numerous cultures at various periods. Often they were worn around the neck or across the chest, emphasizing the head of the wearer.
Gold pectoral

Gold held a profound symbolic significance in American Indian beliefs. The precious metal was particularly prized for its durability and association with the sun in South America before the Spanish Conquest. Long before European contact, Native American goldsmiths had developed great skill in making gold objects, using techniques such as hammering, casting and gilding.
Londesborough brooch

This large silver and gold cloak brooch was made in Ireland over a thousand years ago. It has been decorated in the style of “Insular” Celtic art that was common in Ireland at this time, which combined Celtic, Germanic and classical elements. It is covered with complex patterns of interlace, spirals, animal and bird motifs. Unusually, this fine decoration was cast with the body of the brooch rather than soldered on separately.
Fuller brooch
This splendid brooch was made and worn in England, at the same period when the brooch on the ext page was worn in Ireland. It is made from hammered sheet silver inlaid with niello and decorated with the earliest known representation of the Five Senses. In the centre is Sight, which during the medieval period was considered the most important of the senses. Surrounding Sight are: Taste, with a hand in his mouth; Smell, standing between two tall plants; Touch, rubbing his hands together; and Hearing, with his hand to his ear.
Aigina Treasure pendant

The Aigina Treasure Is one of the most important groups of jewellery to have survived from the Greek Bronze Age (around 3200-1100 BC). It was found somewhere on the Greek island of Aigina, but it is now thought to have been made by Minoan Cretan workshops. Minoan colonists are known to have lived on Aigina and it is possible that the treasure came from one or more of their tombs.
Mummy portrait of a woman

Egyptians continued to mummify their dead after the Roman conquest of 30 BC, but aspects of this long-standing practice begin to show the influence of Roman culture. Instead of the idealized faces of traditional Egyptian art, mummies from this period bear realistic portraits, characteristic of Roman art. The impact of Rome can also be seen in their dress.
Winchester hoard

This group of Iron Age gold jewellery was discovered on a hill near Winchester, in Hampshire. It contained two sets of jewellery comprised of thick neck rings called torcs, brooch pairs linked by a chain, and two bracelets, made from very pure gold.
Stone funerary bust of Aqmat

This funerary bust is from Palmyra, a city that grew rich from the caravan trade linking the Gulf of Arabia and the Mediterranean. The city was incorporated into the Roman empire by the end of the first century AD but was destroyed in AD 273 following two insurrections.
Mold gold cape

Like the Hawai’ian feather cape, this unique Bronze Age cape also demonstrated the importance of its wearer. It was found in fragments inside a stone-lined grave, around the remains of a skeleton. Only much later, when it was examined by a conservator at the British Museum, was it realized that the fragments came from a cape.