ENGLISH Heritage have put on show 2,000 year old pendants which they say were used as make-up applicators for women in Roman Britain.
An article in the Guardian reports that they would have been used to put on eye make-up and that the fashion was for heavy and dark, often using soot or charcoal.
The copper alloy objects were excavated at Wroxeter in Shropshire – once the fourth-largest city in Roman Britain– in the 1910s and 1920s.
They had been catalogued as “lunate pendants” until a recent re-examination revealed them to be cosmetic grinders – a small mortar and pestle to mix charcoal with a drop of fat before applying it round the eye. Loops allowed them to be carried on a cord round the neck.
An English Heritage spokesperson commented: “Being able to re-identify these pendants as cosmetic sets is hugely important to our understanding of the women who lived and worked at Wroxeter Roman city.”
The Guardian also informs us that treasures from one of the world’s finest collections of art, armoury, furniture and porcelain are to be made available for loans to galleries.
The Wallace Collection in London includes superstar paintings such as Frans Hals’ The Laughing Cavalier, Diego Velázquez’s The Lady with a Fan and Nicolas Poussin’s A Dance to the Music of Time.
Wallace Collection director Xavier Bray, said: “For me it is a bit like the Hobbit and you see that dragon just sitting on the treasure, not letting anybody get close to it. This is a major new chapter for the Wallace, it’s likely to be transformative in terms of how we work and how our curators and conservation staff think about the collection.”
The collection has been housed in Hertford House in central London since 1870 and opened to the public as a museum in 1900.
The Guardian (www.guardian.co.uk)