6 July 2011

Grubby Gold

Surely by now you've heard of the Staffordshire Hoard?
( =treasure / largest hoard /Anglo-Saxon gold/ ever)
So, I was looking at pictures of the artefacts- and noticed how dirty it still is.
Not being a conservator, this strikes me as being very cautious conservatorial practice.
(Being of the "Peabody" school of conservation myself; eg, eg, eg)
I mean, they've cleaned up most of it, but not in the cloissons.
They must be worried that the inlay might fall out.

Or that the dirt holds vital clues.
Or that the dirt simply fills the losses. As a maker, I would be interested to see the empty cloisons, actually. I may send them a letter. "Dear Sirs, as a maker..." etc.
Or perhaps the dirt lends a kind ancient ambience to the artefacts that helps with public perception/fundraising; you know, "derelicte". (Who knew treasure needed fundraising?)

On further investigation, the conservation plan actually includes (heaven forbid!):

 Possible remedial reshaping for stability of vulnerable crumpled or damaged 
sheet gold, or for historical understanding of the object. 
 Reconstruction of silver foil with reversible adhesives. 

Next they'll be wearing it around the office!

I looked up "staffordshire hoard dirty"...

Theres actually a Facebook group; WASH THE STAFFORDSHIRE HOARD, with 20 members.
Because, as one of the members worries: "Who knows where its been?"


  1. I want to go at these with a soft natural hair brush! Wouldn't that take a bit more of the dirt away? As for washing, how could it hurt the pieces that have no inlays, that are solid metal? I mean, the hoard survived for a long time under circumstances that were less than ideal by museum standards.

  2. David your post is quite amusing and funny! All silliness aside, I agree, can't they clean it up especially since yes, it has been buried for years...I think it's also the metalsmiths in us who want to bring back the luster.
    If I were to clean it, yes I would walk around the office with it on!