Two gems saved for Seaton Delaval by The Art Fund

  • 17 December 2009

Leading independent art charity The Art Fund today announces that it has helped save two important objects housed at Seaton Delaval Hall, the Vanbrugh mansion which has been the subject of a major fundraising campaign by the National Trust.

The Art Fund has pledged £100,000, enabling the Hall to acquire the Fairfax Jewel, which consists of three enamelled roundels set in an engraved, rectangular gilt-metal plaque, and a marble bust of Charles II by Bushnell. News of the charity grant comes on the day that the National Trust announces that Seaton Delaval Hall, close to Blyth in south east Northumberland, has been saved for the nation.

Both pieces reflect the royal connections of the Delaval and Astley families, who have owned the Estate since the time of the Norman Conquest.

The roundels on the Fairfax Jewel were made by Pierre Bordier (dates unknown, active in the 17th century), a well-known miniaturist at the time. The piece colourfully illustrates Civil War politics, aesthetic tastes of the period as well as the Astley family’s interest in its own heritage.

Andrew Macdonald, Acting Director of The Art Fund, said: "The Fairfax Jewel offers a fascinating glimpse at the political world of the seventeenth century, whilst the Charles II bust is an important reminder of the Astley family’s loyalty to the Crown. We are pleased to have played a part in saving these two items for the nation, to go on display for all to enjoy now the Hall has been saved for posterity."

The two items will go on display in spring 2010, when Seaton Delaval Hall opens to the public.