Anglo-Saxon jewel is Britain’s favourite

The small gold pendant, found by a metal detectorist near Winfarthing in Norfolk four years ago, has been voted 2018’s most popular acquisition for public collections aided by the Art Fund.

The Winfarthing Pendant, part of a hoard found by student Tom Lucking valued at £145,000, was acquired for Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery this year with the help of National Heritage Memorial Fund, Art Fund and the Friends of Norwich Museums. It is currently on display at the British Library as part of its Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms exhibition.

Crafted in gold and encrusted with dozens of garnets, it was found along with some of her most valued possessions in the grave of an aristocratic Anglo-Saxon lady who died between AD 650-675, during the reign of King Ealdwulfof East Anglia.

It was chosen in a national poll from a shortlist of ten works of art that the Art Fund helped museums in the UK to buy this year. The shortlist included Grayson Perry’s Posh Artat Victoria Art Gallery, Artemisia Gentileschi’s Self-Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandriaat the National Gallery, Yinka Shonibare’sEarthat Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Leonora Carrington’s Portrait of Max Ernstat National Galleries of Scotland and an unknown artist’s Am not I a man and a brotherat the International Slavery Museum 

“It’s intriguing to think what the pendant’s seventh-century creator would make of the lasting appeal of their masterpiece, well over a millennium after it was first crafted” said Dr Tim Pestell of the Norfolk Museums Service. “We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone that voted for this unique treasure and we’re looking forward to it going back on display in the Anglo-Saxon and Viking Gallery here at Norwich Castle in spring 2019, after it returns from its loan to the British.”

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