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Rare communion silver saved for Birmingham

Rare communion silver saved for Birmingham

12th August 2010

A rare collection of communion silver with some pieces dating back over 500 years has been added to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery collection.

The collection consists of a rare pre-Reformation silver parcel-gilt paten engraved with the Manus Dei (‘Hand of God’) c.1450; a silver communion cup (1634) and a pair of silver flagons and standing paten by London silversmith Anthony Nelme. The flagons are engraved with the inscription: ‘A Gift to Castle Bromwich Chapple in the Year 1723’.

The silver will initially go on display at Aston Hall until the end of October and will then return to Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

The communion silver was purchased from Castle Bromwich Parish Church. The sale is part of the Church’s fundraising efforts to built a new community centre.

Cllr Martin Mullaney, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport & Culture, said “This is an extremely significant acquisition, not just because of the quality of the items but also because they tell us so much about the history of Castle Bromwich and pre-industrial Birmingham as a whole.

“Saving this collection has been a team effort and we’re extremely grateful to all our fundraising partners – without their help we simply would not have been in a position to purchase this very important collection, which would have then been sold on the open market.”

Dr Stephen Deuchar, Director of The Art Fund, said: “This historic Anglican Communion highlights the history of the local church and also shows off the work of a leading silversmith. We’re really pleased that Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery will now be its permanent home, so people can admire it for years to come.”

The funding partners who helped reach the full £54,000 asking price were The Art Fund (£27,000), MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund (£17,000), City of Birmingham Museums & Art Galleries Development Trust (£10,000) and Friends of Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery (£2,000).

Funding Partners

The Art Fund is an independent charity committed to saving art for everyone to enjoy. Find out more about The Art Fund.

The V&A has operated the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund since 1881, helping museums, libraries and archives to develop their collections. Find out more about the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund.

The Friends of Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery have supported BMAG by raising money to help finance Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery’s acquisitions since 1931. The Friends raise funds through subscriptions, events and outings, and donations. Find out about more about the Friends.

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