Winfarthing treasure voted Britain's favourite work of art
The Anglo-Saxon pendant found by a metal-detectorist was voted as Britain’s favourite work of art from a shortlist of 10 works that Art Fund helped UK museums to buy in 2018.
5,000 members of the public voted.
The shortlist of works ranged from Grayson Perry’s Posh Art at Victoria Art Gallery, Artemisia Gentileschi’s Self-Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria at the National Gallery, Yinka Shonibare’s Earth at Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Leonora Carrington’s Portrait of Max Ernst at National Galleries of Scotland to an unknown artist’s Am not I a man and a brother at the International Slavery Museum.
Dr Tim Pestell, Senior Curator of Archaeology at Norfolk Museums Service, said: "We are absolutely thrilled that the Winfarthing pendant has been named as Britain’s favourite work of art in the Art Fund’s annual poll, especially so given the quality of this year’s shortlist which contained some truly remarkable works. It’s intriguing to think what the pendant’s seventh-century creator would make of the lasting appeal of their masterpiece, well over a millennium after it was first crafted.
"We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone that voted for this unique treasure and we’re looking forward to it going back on display in the Anglo-Saxon and Viking Gallery here at Norwich Castle in spring 2019."
Discovered in December 2014 by a metal detectorist, the seventh-century gold and garnet pendant is the highlight of a trove of artefacts unearthed in Winfarthing, near Diss.
The excavation, carried out by Norfolk County Council’s Find Identification and Recording Service, found the grave to belong to an aristocratic Anglo-Saxon lady who died between AD 650-675 and was buried among some of her most valued possessions.
The pendant was declared treasure under the 1996 Treasure Act and was purchased in 2018 by Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery with support from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Art Fund and the Friends of Norwich Museums.
The pendant is currently on display at the British Library as part of its Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms exhibition.