Wenlok Jug goes on display
- 30 May 2006
The 'Wenlok Jug', acquired earlier this year by Wardown Park Museum in Luton with Art Fund help, is now on display at its new home. The medieval bronze jug was the subject of a high-profile fundraising campaign when it was export-stopped in October 2005.
Culture Minister, David Lammy, deferred the jug on the grounds of its outstanding significance for the study of bronze working in Medieval England. Luton Museums Service was given a matter of months to raise the total cost of £750,000 to ensure the jug stayed in the UK. The Art Fund helped the campaign with a £137,500 grant.
The Wenlok Jug is decorated with crowns, badges and coats of arms, including the Royal arms, as generally used between 1340 and 1405. It also bears the inscription, in capitals, ‘MY LORD WENLOK’. Unknown to scholars until its recent sale, its rediscovery and acquisition by Luton will provide the opportunity for further research into English metalworking skills and expertise.
Debate continues about the identity of the mysterious Lord Wenlok. He could be William Wenlok, canon of St Paul’s Cathedral, Archdeacon of Rochester and a canon of King’s Chapel, Westminster who died in 1391. Alternatively, the jug may have been made for his great-nephew John, the first Lord Wenlok, who was a major figure in the fifteenth century serving every king from Henry V to Edward IV.