An 18-carat exhibition: Scottish Gold shines in gleaming Hunterian Art Gallery show

By Jenni Davidson | 14 March 2014

Exhibition preview: Scottish Gold, Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow, until June 15 2014

A photo of an ornate circular piece of gold against a black background
An Iron Age torc terminal from the new Hunterian show© The Hunterian, University of Glasgow, 2014
While Robert Burns’ line, “bought and sold for English gold”, is oft-quoted at the moment in relation to the independence debate, Glasgow’s Hunterian Art Gallery is looking at the flipside of the coin, so to speak, with an exhibition of Scottish gold.

A photo of a vase-like gold sculpture with black ink written on it against a dark backdrop
An ampulla used at the Scottish Coronation of Charles I in 1633© National Museums Scotland
From gold mining to the first coinage and the Darien Disaster, the exhibition examines the role that gold has played in Scotland’s history and culture and from prehistoric times to the present day.

Among the historic treasures on display are gold cloth from the tomb of Robert the Bruce; Bronze Age and Iron Age torques from the Law Farm hoard; a James V ducat, or bonnet piece, coin; a gold flask used at the Scottish coronation of Charles I and Queen Victoria’s gold collar of the Order of the Thistle.

More contemporary pieces include an 18-carat solid gold quaich and a Millennium medal produced for the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

A photo of a circular piece of jewellery made of gold beads
Iron Age gold torc from the Law Farm hoard© The Hunterian, University of Glasgow, 2014
Gold can still be found in Scottish rivers today, so perhaps the sight of ten of the biggest nuggets ever to be found in Scottish waters may even inspire some visitors to go out and try a little panning for the shiny stuff themselves.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

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Follow Jenni Davidson on Twitter @jenni_davidson.
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