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Royal visit to officially open Hidden Treasures of Berkeley Exhibition

Hidden Treasures of Berkeley Exhibition

Exquisite and rarely seen pieces from the Berkeley family collection are set to go on public display this September at historic Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire.

The Hidden Treasures of Berkeley exhibition is to be officially opened by HRH The Countess of Wessex in a private visit on September 10, during which she will meet the Berkeley family, Castle staff and volunteers and be welcomed by local schoolchildren.

The exhibition will be available for visitors to view in the Morning Room as part of their visit to the Castle from Sunday to Wednesday from September 1 - 30.

Headlining the display will be a highly important gold cup and cover made by Paul de Lamerie in 1717 - the only known surviving piece of gold work bearing de Lamerie’s maker’s mark.  A nationally important piece, it is usually only displayed at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum but special arrangements have been made to bring the item home to Berkeley Castle for the Hidden Treasures exhibition.

Another item on display is a beautiful Saxon ring, most probably made during the early years of the ninth century (c. AD 800-830). It has been part of the Berkeley collection for over 200 years.  The ring has been described as one of the finest and most impressive Saxon rings seen and is in wonderful condition with virtually no signs of wear.

Further treasures to go on display will include the Godwin Cup - a mysterious piece which, whilst thought to date from the 16th century, makes claims to have originated as the drinking cup of the Saxon magnate, Godwine Earl of Wessex who died in 1053 - and a selection of miniatures including work by the famous Elizabethan artist Nicholas Hilliard. His miniature of Elizabeth I playing a lute has been described as the most outstanding portrait of the Queen by Hilliard and has rarely been seen.

Charles Berkeley expressed his delight at being able to display these items to visitors at the Castle. ‘We are thrilled to have been able to bring this collection together for our special ‘Hidden Treasures’ exhibition. Most of the pieces have scarcely been viewed and have certainly never been brought together for this sort of exhibition before." he said.

"Berkeley Castle is full of fine art, furniture and furnishings but to be able to display a collection of such impressive and historically important items is a source of pride to me, our family and our team.  We all hope it will prove a sublime treat for our many visitors."

The Hidden Treasures of Berkeley Castle exhibition will be on display to the public from Sunday to Wednesday throughout September and admission is included within the Castle entry fees (Adult £10.00, Junior (age 3 - 16) £5.50, Concession (full-time student or aged 60+) £8.50, Family (2 adults and 2 children) £28.00, Children under 3 are free)

Berkeley Castle is one of the most remarkable buildings in the country and has been lived in by the same family for over 850 years, longer than any other fortress in England.  Visitors can delight in fascinating tours of the Castle taking in history from the 12th century to the present day with highlights including a medieval dungeon (King Edward’s Cell), larders, buttery and kitchens, stunning drawing rooms, a Great Hall and an armoury.  Guided tours are included daily and refreshments are served in an award-winning Yurt Tea Room.

Explore Gloucestershire
8 September 2015

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