26 July 2012
Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich
The Mildenhall Great Dish will be arriving in Ipswich in July on loan from the British Museum. This will be a unique opportunity to view the most outstanding item from one of the finest and most important collections of silver tableware of the late Roman Empire.
The Mildenhall Great Dish is listed in the top 10 British treasures held by The British Museum. It will be returning to Suffolk for the first time since its discovery in 1942 as part of The British Museum’s Spotlight Tours financed by The Art Fund Prize 2011.
This is the latest outcome of the partnership between The British Museum and Ipswich Museum. The British Museum is helping to support and raise the profile of the ongoing development of Ipswich Museums. A private view and launch event will take place on 25 July 2012, which will be attended by many important guests, including Andrew Burnett who is the Deputy Director The British Museum and President of the Roman Society.
Councillor Bryony Rudkin, Culture Portfolio Holder for Ipswich Borough Council said, “The loan of the Mildenhall Great Dish is symbolic of the strength of the partnership between the British Museum and Ipswich Museums. We are proud to be able to display this fine example of late-Roman silverware in Christchurch Mansion and welcome everyone to take this unique opportunity to view it.”
The Mildenhall Great Dish is the most famous object in the Mildenhall treasure. It is a large, highly decorated circular platter usually known as the 'Great Dish', or as the 'Neptune' or 'Oceanus Dish'. It is finely decorated with images related to the worship and mythology of Bacchus on land and in the sea. An image of Oceanus stares out from the centre and is surrounded by images and figures of myth and wonder, including Bacchus himself.
The Mildenhall treasure is one of the most important collections of late-Roman silver tableware from the Roman Empire. The objects were found during ploughing near Mildenhall in Suffolk in 1942 and were declared Treasure Trove in 1946. The tableware's style and decoration is typical of the fourth century AD. The artistic and technical quality of the silver objects is outstanding. It is not know who owned them, but it was probably a person or family of considerable wealth and high social status.
Other treasures of Roman Suffolk on display will include the Wickham Market gold coin hoard, the Holbrooke horse harness pendants, the Cavenham Crowns, the Woodbridge silver coin hoard and a unique Roman lantern.
Members of the public will be able to view the display of ‘The Mildenhall Great Dish and Treasures of Roman Suffolk’ free of charge in Christchurch Mansion from 26 July 2012 until the end of October.
Soane Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP4 2BE
Open: Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm
NOTE TO EDITORS:
Contact Laura Welham, PR and Press Officer, Colchester Borough Council. Telephone: 01206 508782 or 07815088150
For comment or opinion please contact Cllr. Bryony Rudkin
Ipswich Borough Council – Culture Portfolio Holder
Telephone: 07752 870697
The Spotlight Tours are organised through the British Museum’s Partnership UK Scheme. Partnership UK is the strategic framework for the Museum’s programme of engagement with audiences throughout the country. It includes single loans, touring exhibitions, Partnership Galleries and skills exchange. The Museum works with venues of all sizes to share its collection and expertise as widely as possible across the UK. The British Museum was awarded The Art Fund Prize 2011 for A History of the World, the successful partnership project with the BBC and over 550 UK heritage venues. The Prize has funded the Spotlight Tours, lending star British Museum objects around England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
The Art Fund is the national fundraising charity for works of art and plays a major part in enriching the range and quality of art on public display in the UK. Supported by some 90,000 individual members, it campaigns, fundraises and gives money to museums and galleries to buy, show and share art, and offers many ways of enjoying it through the National Art Pass.
As well as supporting the buying of works of art, initiatives under its funding programme include: sponsoring the UK tour of the Artist Rooms collection so that it reaches several million people across the UK each year, and fundraising: two recently successful campaigns include bringing in £6 million to save the Staffordshire Hoard for the West Midlands and Pieter Brueghel the Younger’s The Procession to Calvary for Nostell Priory, in partnership with the National Trust. Over the past year, the Art Fund has given £24 million for works of art to 248 museums and galleries. The Art Fund is funded entirely by its art-loving and museum-going supporters who believe that great art should be for everyone to enjoy.
Find out more at www.artfund.org
The Art Fund Prize is administered by The Museum Prize, a charitable company created in 2001 by representatives of National Heritage, the Museums Association and the Art Fund and chaired by Lady Cobham. These organisations agreed to put aside award schemes they formerly ran (including National Heritage’s Museum of the Year) and lend their support to this single major prize.
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[Image: British Museum, London]