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Winfarthing treasure on national award shortlist

A pendant found by a metal-detectorist is in the running to be named as Britain’s favourite work of art.

OLD BUT GOLD: The pendant.
OLD BUT GOLD: The pendant.

The nationally-significant Anglo-Saxon gold treasure, which was found by a Norfolk student while metal-detecting in Winfarthing, was saved for the nation earlier this year following a fundraising appeal by Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery.

Now the gold and garnet pendant is one of 10 works to make the Art Fund’s shortlist to find the nation’s favourite acquisition of the last year.

Winfarthing Parish Council chairman Jim Collins said: “This is absolutely brilliant and good news for the village. The whole council will be voting for the pendant.”

The Winfarthing treasure was discovered in December, 2014, by Tom Lucking, then a student at the University of East Anglia, while pursuing his hobby of metal-detecting.

Recognising he had discovered an undisturbed grave, he left the burial intact until it could be excavated by archaeologists from Norfolk County Council’s Find Identification and Recording Service.

Excavation showed the grave to have contained an aristocratic Anglo-Saxon woman, who died between 650 and 675 AD.

Her jewellery included a large gold pendant inlaid with hundreds of tiny cloisonné-set garnets, forming sinuous interlacing beasts and geometrical shapes.

The pendant is currently on display in the British Library until February 19.

It will go back on display in Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery on its return.

The purchase of the treasure, valued at £145,050, was supported by grants from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Friends of Norwich Museum.

The poll opened on Tuesday and runs until December 15, with the winner being announced on December 18.

The shortlisted works encompass painting, sculpture and treasure with a combined value of £5.2 million.

All those who vote will be entered into a free prize draw, with the chance of winning a lifetime National Art Pass worth £1,850.

You can vote here.

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