Less than a week after the fundraising campaign was launched, the newly-found artefacts from the Staffordshire Hoard have been saved for the nation thanks to the generosity of the jewellers Wartski who made the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding ring.
Today the Court Jewellers Wartski donated the full amount needed - £57,395 – in order to purchase the 81 additional pieces of Anglo-Saxon treasure that were found last November in the same Staffordshire field as the initial 3,500-piece collection. Wartski is a family jewellery business in London.
It has a long tradition of research, scholarship and specialist exhibitions. The firm, established in 1865, are jewellers specialising in antique goldsmiths’ work and jewellery, with a special emphasis on the work of Carl Fabergé.
Within hours of the announcement of the Anglo-Saxon artefacts’ formal valuation and necessary fundraising campaign Geoffrey Munn, Managing Director of Wartski and specialist on the BBC’s The Antiques Roadshow, contacted Birmingham City Council’s Leader, Sir Albert Bore on behalf of the Wartski board to make the offer.
The generous donation will ensure the entire Staffordshire Hoard – jointly owned by Birmingham City Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council – will be kept together.
Simon Cane, Director, Birmingham Museums Trust said: ‘This is fantastic news. We are delighted that a prestigious British company such as Wartski has made it possible for us to acquire these unique historic objects for the nation. We, along with partners in Stoke and elsewhere in the Midlands, look forward to welcoming visitors from around the world to marvel at this significant treasure”.
Geoffrey Munn, on behalf of the Wartski board said: “Both the Chairman of Wartski, Nicholas Snowman, and I are thrilled to have a chance of securing the future of what can only be described as Staffordshire’s Tutankhamun. The hoard is a uniquely important part of England’s heritage, striking at the heart of our national DNA, and consequently its preservation was imperative.”
Councillor Paul Shotton, Stoke-on-Trent City Council deputy council leader, said: “This is fantastic news and will allow the hoard to be kept together, which was our main aim when we launched the fundraising campaign. People can still donate to the hoard appeal and all money will go to the development of the Staffordshire Hoard Gallery and the conservation work that is taking place with the hoard items. The new items will be a fantastic addition to the existing hoard display at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery and I’m sure the public are just as excited as we are to see them.”
The news of Wartski’s donation comes just a few weeks after Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery – which leads on the conservation of the Anglo-Saxon artefacts – scooped a £700,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help build a permanent gallery for the Staffordshire Hoard. Wartski’s position as sole donors for the new finds will be supported by the generous donations made by members of the public, which go towards covering the costs of conservation, research and display of the Staffordshire Hoard.
Birmingham City Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council continue to work in partnership with Lichfield District Council, Staffordshire County Council and Tamworth Borough Council to ensure the story of the Staffordshire Hoard is told across the West Midlands region as part of the Staffordshire Hoard Mercian Trail.
Claire Fudge, PR Manager on 0121 202 2210/ 07707 531405 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Adam Blakeman in the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232987. www.stoke.gov.uk/news
Birmingham Museums Trust has been established to govern and manage the museum sites and collections owned by Birmingham City Council and Thinktank, Birmingham’s Science Museum. The new independent organisation is focused on sustaining and developing key partnerships within the city and beyond, in order to deliver high quality, audience focussed museum services, and meet the needs of Birmingham communities as well as its wider audiences.
The establishment of Birmingham Museums Trust means that visitors to all venues can take advantage of even more educational and entertaining events and activities, ranging from arts and crafts to history and culture from around the world. www.bmag.org.uk