Wood into Gold: Re-gilding the frame of The Paston Treasure

Francesca Vanke by Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, Norfolk


£15,641 raised
171 funders

Funded 1 April 2015

0% funded

107% funded

Do you have the Midas touch?

The Paston Treasure, (Dutch School, c.1670s, oil on canvas) is one of Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery’s rarest and most famous paintings, popular with visitors of all ages. It was painted by an unknown Dutch artist at Oxnead Hall in Norfolk around 1670 and portrays some of the treasures collected by the famous Paston family. These objects are dispersed around the world but the painting has always stayed in Norfolk, a vital part of the county’s heritage.

Research has shown that the ornately carved frame was in all likelihood made for the painting, but it would not have looked like this in the 17th century. It would have been gilded – the dazzling finishing touch to the depiction of a dazzling collection. Six years ago, we raised money to have the painting cleaned and conserved. Now we want to re-gild the frame and restore this masterpiece in its entirety to its former glory.

This is the ideal moment to go for gold. We at Norwich Castle are planning, in partnership with the Yale Center for British Art in the USA, a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition – to bring together as many of the Paston treasures as we can and reunite them with this picture for the first time in 350 years. To prepare for this major exhibition planned for 2018, we want the painting to look as it did when it was new, and as the artist intended – with the frame this remarkable painting deserves.

Gold has an eternal mystique and appeal. Robert Paston, the original owner of the collection and the painting, practised alchemy. He spent his life trying to understand the mysteries of nature, and trying to make gold. We now know this is impossible, but to turn this wooden frame into gold is easy – all we need is your help! To gild a frame, fragile sheets of gold leaf are carefully laid onto a prepared surface. Why not become a modern day alchemist and help us turn this frame gold, piece by piece?

Take a closer look at The Paston Treasure below.

A Great Start

Thank you to everybody who has made early offers of donations Read more

The Strombus Shell Cup

In preparation for our exhibition, we're looking at all the treasures in the painting, trying to find out more about them – starting with the magnificent Strombus Shell Cup Read more

Donations update and Blaeu's globe

We've already reached £400 from a total of 20 donors. Thank you very much to everyone who's started the ball rolling! In our latest update, we look at another magnificent treasure from the painting Read more

The tortoiseshell cup

Learn more about the Indian star tortoiseshell cup, one of the stunning natural objects in The Paston Treasure Read more

Wood and gold tote bags

We're thrilled to reveal the design of our £25 reward Read more

The mysterious third person

There was originally another person in this painting – who was she, and why was she painted out? Read more

Funding and flowers

Our running total, and another look at The Paston Treasure Read more


A word about time and timepieces in the Paston Treasure Read more

Robert Paston

Meet the man behind the Paston family's amazing collection of objects, which appear in The Paston Treasure Read more

New Reward – visit Oxnead Hall

At home with the Pastons Read more

A remixed Paston Treasure

A group of local children recreate the painting Read more

The Pastons and their royal connections

Find out more about Charles II's visit to Norfolk in 1671 Read more

Deadline extension

Our project is 93% funded with just a few hours to go – to ensure we hit our target, we've decided to extend our project deadline Read more

100% funded!

The re-gilding of The Paston Treasure is now fully funded by Art Happens donors Read more

For funders only

More news on the Paston Treasure

The more you look... the more there is to see Read more

For funders only

Gilding update

We now have a date for the frame to go to the gilding workshop! Read more

Today's the day!

The Paston Treasure frame went off to the gilders this morning Read more

For funders only

A chance to look afresh

Seeing The Paston Treasure from a new angle Read more

For funders only

A visit to the gilder's workshop

The Paston Treasure's frame is almost complete. Here's an insight in the gilding process – a technique that has hardly changed since the 15th century Read more

For funders only

The re-gilded Paston Treasure

The gilding of the frame is complete, it's back with the picture and it looks great – have a look Read more

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