OK it is really 8 days by now but I only found out about this exhibition after I had been to Leeds last week – it was posted about on Facebook by Stephen Roper , a jeweller . The Leeds Armouries had some actual objects from the Staffordshire hoard (until October 2) as opposed to replicas which will go on a major tour , so we visited yesterday . Apparently this is a hoard of gold and a little silver from Anglo-Saxon times found in what had been the kingdom of Mercia . Many objects were damaged because they were parts of sword & knife hilts and had been wrenched off . Nevertheless the quality of the workmanship is visibly quite extraordinary – especially when you consider (as Stephen pointed out) that they were working without magnification .
There was some information/speculation about the garnets – possibly Middle Eastern and the gold – possibly melted down from Byzantine coins but nothing on the red glass . Red is a difficult because highly fugitive colour in glass/glazes so did they make it themselves or was it broken fragments looted ? Where from ? And why melt down coins when the reddish gold of Saxon England was famous ? And there are an awful lot of garnets from far away in the hoard – traded , stolen or looted & by whom ? We don’t seem to know much about the Anglo-Saxon period in England and of course it wasn’t long .
Finally there was a contemporary sculpture , inspired by the objects , designed and made by the blacksmith Stuart Makin –