`Anglo-Saxon Art in the Round’ Virtual Exhibition

Silver early penny, Series Q, East Anglia. Fitzwilliam Museum CM.1903-2007, De Wit Collection

Silver early penny, Series Q, East Anglia. Fitzwilliam Museum CM.1903-2007, De Wit Collection

It was now a considerable time ago that Nicola Griffith posted a notice at Gemæcca expressing her excitement about the exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum, where I earn my crust, entitled Anglo-Saxon Art in the Round. That exhibition opened on 23rd May 2008, and its purpose was to celebrate the fact that we’d just been able to get hold of a stunning collection of early Anglo-Saxon pennies (also known as sceattas, though we deprecate this term). It ran till September 2008 and was fairly well-received. I did the enlargements which, because of the tiny size of the coins, were a big feature of it, and I also did the virtual exhibition to go alongside it, using the text from the physical case labels and so forth to try and mimic the physical layout on the web.

A Merovingian gold tremissis struck in the Toul area, Fitzwilliam Museum PG.10720, Grierson Collection

A Merovingian gold tremissis struck in the Toul area, Fitzwilliam Museum PG.10720, Grierson Collection

You will have noticed that I didn’t mention the virtual exhibition here. This was partly because it wasn’t finished when the physical exhibition opened because someone sent me to Madrid at short notice; but it was finished a week after that. All the same, you can see that I was still promising it to Michelle of Heavenfield just after Christmas that year. It still wasn’t live by the time we closed the physical exhibition and packed it off to Norwich Castle Museum. In January 2009 they too dismantled it and sent it to Ipswich Town Hall Galleries, where it is on display till September 2009. For all of this time what I can only describe as circumstances beyond my control have kept our virtual companion to the physical displays offline. We did at least have a podcast by my boss put up, which has now been linked into the virtual exhibition. At last, however, all has been finalised and sent live to the web, and I would be very pleased if you found time to give it a look. It’s quite informative and full of pictures of wild and wonderful early Saxon art in metal. I hope you like it. (Michelle, our Oswald’s Raven or whatever it is is on the third page.) Go on. Cheer this fellow up!

Silver early penny, series Z, c. 715-20, Fitzwilliam Museum CM.1614-2007, De Wit Collection

Silver early penny, series Z, c. 715-20, Fitzwilliam Museum CM.1614-2007, De Wit Collection

N. B. coins not to scale…

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8 responses to “`Anglo-Saxon Art in the Round’ Virtual Exhibition

  1. Thanks for putting this up. There is more variation than I think I’ve seen before.

    Animal mask series? How does our possible Oswald piece have a animal mask on?

  2. Pingback: Pseudo-Polymath » Blog Archive » Monday Highlights

    • Well that is interesting… a bit of a Rorschach (ink blot) test. I can see at least two images here.

      • That obverse image is…interesting. Like something from The Fly.

        • What! Totally a kitty!

          • For what it’s worth, this is I think one of the cases where enlargement doesn’t necessarily help, because it calls out detail which isn’t really visually significant. The actual piece is pretty clearly a cat, I think, albeit with various extra bits of ornament going on behind it that don’t seem to resolve into a body. As Michelle knows from our arguments about Oswald’s raven, pretty much any of these details are arguable though!

  3. yeah these designs are real cute. it’d take a real artist to do that.

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