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Anglo-Saxon Art in the Round

An Exhibition of Anglo-Saxon Coins and Artefacts to Celebrate the Acquisition by The Fitzwilliam Museum of the De Wit Collection of Early Anglo-Saxon Pennies

Obverse of a series Q sceatta showing a bird facing right below a triquetra

23 May - 7 September 2008
Fitzwilliam Museum

20 September 2008 - 18 January 2009
Norwich Castle Museum

7 March - 5 September 2009
Ipswich Town Hall Galleries

Anglo-Saxon Art in the Round explores the rich inventiveness of Early Medieval Art through the medium of coins and ornamental metalwork. It features pieces from the De Wit collection, recently purchased by The Fitzwilliam Museum, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Art Fund, and displayed in public in the Museum for the first time in the physical exhibition as companion to which this virtual one was created.

The gold shillings and silver pennies of the 7th and 8th centuries feature an innovative range of distinctive and striking designs, drawn from Classical and Germanic sources. Their bold images of people, animals, and plants, alongside geometric motifs, are both rich in detail and sophisticated in concept, providing a captivating insight into the Anglo-Saxon imagination.

These pieces testify to the artistic vibrancy of the era in which they were manufactured, a period which also produced such treasures as the Lindisfarne Gospels, the Franks Casket and the High Crosses. The exhibition also features a selection of contemporary ornamental metalwork drawn from other museums in the region, illuminating the previously lost treasures of a creatively rich period of history.

You can explore the exhibition by choosing a theme from the sidebar at the left, begin with the introduction and take a tour through the exhibition case by virtual case, or listen to the podcast by Dr Mark Blackburn, curator of the exhibition.

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