The Paston Treasure: Riches and Rarities of the Known World
23 June – 23 September 2018
Get inside the painting of The Paston Treasure in a major exhibition exploring the history and mysteries of this enigmatic work.
The Paston Treasure, painted by an unknown Dutch artist, depicts an extraordinary collection of objects and artworks amassed by the Paston family in the 17th century.
The painting has been puzzling and intriguing scholars all over the world for centuries. Here, for the first time in 300 years, several of the original treasures are reunited with the work – a pair of silver-gilt flagons, a Strombus shell cup, two unique nautilus cups and a mother of pearl perfume flask – together with items replicating other objects such as musical instruments, rare timepieces, a globe, jewels, history specimens, miniatures and sculptures.
Extensive research in collaboration with the Yale Center for British Art in the US has yielded fascinating discoveries about the collection which was one of the richest ever to exist in this country and represents a microcosm of the the then-known world. The painting, in a frame which donors to an Art Happens crowdfunding campaign in 2015 helped to re-gild, survives the fortunes of the Pastons and their once magnificent home at Oxnead Hall. The family's downfall can even be read in the painting's eerily prophetic motifs, symbolising time, vanity and death amidst the riches.