John Vince, Discovering Horse Brasses, Shire Publications Ltd, 1968.
G. Bernard Hughes, Horse Brasses and other small items for the Collector, Country Life Limited, 1956.
The origins of horse harness decoration are rooted in the Roman occupation of the British Isles (A.D.50-410). During festivals and cermonies horses were adorned with precious bronze amulets, as protective symbols.The tradition persisted until the 17th century, descending more directly from the military suit of armour. In the Georgian peroid, the single polished latten brass 'sun-flash' and crescent moon motif, suspended from the forehead of the driven horse, became fashionable, particularly in Kent. Brasses suspended from the martingale date from 1830 and were widely produced from rolled calamine brass and later spelter brass in the thrieving garrets of Walsall and Birmingham. By the 1870's there were approximately 3000 different stamped designs, some marked with a catalogue stamp or registration number. Patterns were devised with regional affiliations and sentimental symbolic meaning in the Victorian tradition. Among many examples windmills were popular in Lincolnshire, Sussex farmers favoured the 'Wagoner and his Whip', the dolphin was popular in Wiltshire and the prancing horse in Kent.