Saturday, February 4, 2012

Horse Brasses Repurposed

For years,
 I have seen horse brasses at antiques shows and shops.
I knew they were "horse brasses" but never really knew
what they were for. When I moved into this house,
my sweet friend Sue bought me several to display
in the trophy case in the hall. I love them. 
Each one is so unique. 

They are very collectible!    Credit: Henderson Auctions, UK

Handsome fellows all dressed up.

horse brasses figure
British Royal Horse Brass Designs     Credit:

Did you know...
Horse brasses are brass ornaments that were, and still are,
used to decorate the harnesses of draft horses and identify their owner. 
Horse brasses were developed during the 15th century 
as good luck charms or amulets of protection.

 Over the years they have become less protective 
and more decorative accents for harnessing. 
 Through the years, they have been made for all sorts of occasions 
from royal events to commemorating clubs, 
organizations, guilds or trade unions, and they were/are
also made as travel souvenirs.

Gifts from my friend, Sue!

Here are my latest finds.
I am not sure that they are horse brasses,
but the seller that I bought them from claimed they are
"pre-Victorian horse brasses on leather". 

Can anyone tell me anything more?

I am unable to locate 
any further information on this style of design.
One of the six brass button/plates 
is monogrammed with  the letters "CG". 
These are pretty large pieces.
To me, they just seem like decorative
leather and brass pieces...
so yes, maybe technically they are
for horses and they are brass --
but they might not be "horse brasses"
as one might traditionally expect!

This is the back of one of them.

So here they are....
and then what should I do with them?

I decided to use them
in the warming room as tie-backs.

Wish I had a horse to hang them on!


AntiqueChase said...

Love those!!

Tartan Terrace said...

Alison - What a wonderfully unique thing to collect. They're beautiful and I love the way you have them displayed with the leather. (Those boots are amazing, too.) I definitely think you need the horse!

Mary Anne said...

Alison ~ Many thanks for the teaching post. I never knew what horse brasses were either. The one you recently purchased is awesome. Very refined looking compared to your friends gifts...but how precious of her to give you 'your firsts'

As for owning that horse . . .but of course, he would certainly be right at home!

Connie (aka LOU) said...

Oh Alison, I agree with Mary Anne. I usually learn something from your posts ~ always good material. Tie backs - who would have thought? They look great. A horse is one pet I never got. I kept asking, and my dad kept saying no :(

Rebecca said...

What a great "repurpose"! (I can almost smell the beautiful scent of leather as I scroll through this post.

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

I don't know anything about them, Alison, but they look like they make for an interesting collection! What a great idea to use them as tiebacks. I was thinking a gallery wall of horse related items would be a great place for them, too.

Paula said...

These look great as curtain tie-backs. As a former equestrian, I can't get enough horse type things. Boy do I miss horses!

Anonymous said...

Love your blog!

I have my horse brass hung on the brick of my fireplace. Mine are still in the straps, but I have seen other homes in Virginia with the brass alone hanging on the brick fireplace surround.


Di said...

How great they they perfect displayed on the curtains. Di@cottage-wishes

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

What a fun find and I love them as drapery tiebacks. Beautiful. Hugs, Marty

Debbiedoo's said...

Great post Alison. We actually have a few vintage horse brasses. They are very neat. husband enjoyed your comment on his design skills. He read every single one of them and now he sees why I love blogging so much. What a wonderful group of creative minds coming together to share our passions. I told him he needs to do a guest post of his own LOL.

Karena said...

Alison I wish I had some info for you. I was not familiar at all so I learned a lot in this post.

I adore the gleam of the brass against your paisley patterned curtains, genius!

Art by Karena

Sandy said...

LOVE LOVE what you did with them...curtain tie backs...brilliant! Excellent is in the've out done yourself. Happy Sunday..xoso Sandy

Olive Cooper said...

Splendid what you did with these textural and historical finds.

Pamela Gordon said...

I'm not sure if your brasses are the real thing but they do look great as curtain hold backs! Your other collection of them is wonderful. Have a great week! Pamela

Sherry @ No Minimalist Here said...

Alison, I love that you are using these as tiebacks. Great collection. xo, Sherry

Richard Cottrell said...

I have always liked these. Never had any. Perfect for you. haven't seen you lately. Richard from My Old Historic House.

The French Hutch said...

Hi Alison, I sure learned a lot here today. How interesting your Horse Brasses are! I think they look great displayed in your home. Great idea to use as tie-tacs. Wish I could help on the history but the only thing I know about horses and their gear is how to saddle and ride them, learned as a young horse crazy girl!

The French Hutch

Shirley@Housepitality Designs said...

What a creative idea as to use them as drapery tiebacks. They look great!..Used to live in Ocala, Florida..they always claimed it the horse capitol of the world and Kentucky always denied that fact..I recall seeing these in antique shops, but never knew what they were! Now that I know..I will pay more attention and be on the lookout!

Design is... All in the Detail said...

Just stumbled across your blog and fell in love with all the wonderful ideas you have here! I am your newest follower! Have a wonderful Sunday.

Bliss said...

Out at occasional sales today I saw some interesting door mats... they were old belts and pieces of leather horse tack turned into door mats, crazy cute.


Elizabeth (Blue Clear Sky) said...

Lovely, and a great spot to display them too. We have two strips of horse brasses, originally belonging to my paternal Grandfather. My mom gave them to our oldest son (14) because my father-in-law also has draft horses. I will have to get them out for a photo. Thanks for the information on their history.

5th and State said...

brilliant, simply brilliant!

Karen said...

I've never seen horse brass like the monogrammed set you were given but they're so pretty. I'm sure they'll look great wherever you display them.

Sarah said...

Alison, using them as tie-backs is a fabulous idea. These are wonderful pieces. I don't know a thing about horse brasses, but I do have one piece. A friend sent it to me because it has a rooster on it. ;-)
~ sarah

Pamela Bates of Mercantile Muse said...

really lovely regardless of what they actually are and love them as tiebacks.

Barbara Bussey {The Treasured Home} said...

These brasses are beautiful! And they're repurposed beautifully!

Calypso In The Country said...

What a great collection and I love the way you made the tiebacks. How perfect for that room!

Tammy@Beatrice Banks said...

I did not know this! Thanks for the lesson! They are exquisite! Don't know how you find all these lovely things! Your posts are always such an inspiration!

laxsupermom said...

Love your collection! Your new ones look great as tiebacks - what a creative use for them! Thanks for sharing.

Yellow Rose Arbor said...

These are beautiful! What a great collection! Perfect for your house!


Pamela Bates of Mercantile Muse said...

Alison, just came across this listing on etsy and thought of you.....a vintage wood stirrup!


Carole said...

Until you get that horse they look perfect there. How clever of you.

mississippi artist said...

What a clever idea to use them as curtain tie backs. They are perfect for your room!

Unknown said...

My antiquie mother-in-law was sure I was collecting horse brasses and gave me a whole gift bag full for Christmas. I love horses, but am not sure where she got the idea that I was collecting them! After having them sit in the bag for much too long, I googled "How should I display horse brasses?" and up popped your blog. Wonderful ideas! I love both the scattered stack of brasses on the table, and the tie-backs. Taking them out of the bag now...... Thanks!