Colchester Castle Museum unveils royal rareties in second part of Art Treasures series

By Ivan Stoyanov | 23 July 2010
A photo of an ancient castle on grassland

(Above) Colchester Castle Museum. Image:

Exhibition: The Medieval Mind: Art Treasures from East Anglia Part 2, Colchester Castle Museum, Colchester

A visit to Colchester Castle Museum takes you through 2,000 years of the most important events in British history.

This July, however, the largest keep ever built by the Normans is reclaiming the ideas and beliefs of people in the Middle Ages.

Following the success of The Medieval Mind: Art Treasures from East Anglia Part 1, the second part of this spectacular series promises even more stunning objects and stories, which all dispell an era of darkness and barbarity.

The alluring exhibition will give visitors a chance to recap 400 years of great artistry and skill.

A marvellous variety of art objects, including a very rare object loaned from the royal collection, will try to decipher the medieval psyche through themes intertwined with civic pride, the regal image and religious art.

Museum collections across East Anglia, the British Museum and the Royal Collection – by permission of Her Majesty the Queen, no less – have been brought together to provide a rare opportunity to see local Medieval art treasures.

“Many of the artefacts have not been on public display in Colchester before,” says the council’s Nick Barlow.

“This new addition to the Castle Museum goes to show that the Museum is a vital institution in interpreting our local and regional heritage.”

The lineup of artefacts includes jewellery, coins, illuminated manuscripts, paintings, sculpture, ceramics, exquisite examples of church art and personal items owned by locals.

Clare Reliquary Cross from the Royal Collection, a small hollow cross which once contained a minute fragment of wood believed to be a relic of the cross on which Christ was crucified, is one of the highlights in the exhibition. It is thought to have been owned by a relative of King Edward IV.

The Wenlock Jug, from Luton Museum Service, is expected to arouse some curiosity as well – a rare example of metalwork, it is associated with royalty from the 1400s, decorated with coats of arms and badges and inscribed with the words “My Lord Wenlock”.

Open 10am – 5pm (11am – 5pm Sunday). Admission £3.60 – £5.70 (free for under-5s, family ticket £15).

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