On Tuesday 1 June, celebrities including Dame Judi Dench, Michael Palin, David Starkey and Tristram Hunt MP gathered at the British Museum for an Art Fund ‘thank you’ event for major supporters of the Staffordshire Hoard campaign.
The Art Fund hosted the event to thank major donors and high profile figures that supported the £3.3m appeal to save the most valuable Anglo-Saxon treasures ever found on UK soil.
After a welcome address from the Art Fund’s director Stephen Deuchar, Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, spoke to guests about the Hoard’s significance for UK heritage. Guests were then led to a special private view of key pieces from the Hoard, which had been put on temporary display especially for the event. Roger Bland, Head of the Department of Portable Antiquities & Treasure at the British Museum, explained the story of the find. Senior figures from both Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent were also present to answer guests’ questions about the items on display.
Discovered last summer in a field near Lichfield, the Staffordshire Hoard is the most valuable Anglo-Saxon treasure ever unearthed on UK soil and is made up of over 1,500 pieces of gold and silver, many encrusted with gems and intricately decorated.
Kick-started with a £300,000 Art Fund grant, the appeal to save the Hoard was successfully completed on 23 March 2010 with help from a major grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund. The Hoard is now jointly owned by Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and the Potteries Museum.
Photos: Dame Judi Dench; David Starkey and Tristram Hunt MP. Credit: Simon Rawles.