On Tuesday September 13th Berganza treated three competition winners and their guests of choice to a lavish evening at the Society of Londoners ‘Hidden Treasures’ event at the Museum of London. The evening commenced with a champagne reception and a personal welcoming by Berganza CEO Paul Daughters who allowed access to the finer workings of the Berganza team and gave a brief overview of the night ahead. Upon arrival a cockney sing-a-long entertained as the group proceeded to the ‘Hidden Treasures’ exhibition.
Curators from the Museum invited attendees to visit a vast number of interactive displays, each with a selection of objects from their vaulted collections. Specialists in fashion, textiles, paintings, ceramics, photography, archaeology and osteology were all at hand revealing captivating stories of the past and how these stories have shaped our future.
Of special interest was a number of items from the Cheapside Hoard which were on display for viewing. Possibly the greatest unearthed collection of jewellery in the History of the United Kingdom, the Cheapside Hoard has over 500 pieces of jewellery and gemstones which are aged at approximately the 16th-17th century. When the collection was discovered in 1910, the reasons behind it’s burial were shrouded in mystery and the theories surrounding this subject continue to be a source of debate and amusement.
Included in the selection available for viewing was the Aesop cameo made from banded agate and featuring a scene from Aesop’s fable ‘the dog and the shadow’, a richly bejewelled scent bottle which features carved opals, rubies and diamonds, three elegant gem set fan handles (the only surviving examples of their type in existence today) and two gemstone clusters. Perhaps the most famed piece on show was the gold salamander brooch which is set with dazzling Colombian emeralds and finished with fine white enamelling. Not only is this item beautiful and rare, but according to myth the salamander can survive fire which is fitting since it is thought that the Hoard was buried prior to the great fire of London in 1666. It is because of this connection to the great fire that the salamander brooch has become the most recognisable piece within the Hoard collection.
The museum has hugely exciting plans to move to a new site at West Smithfield in 2022, where treasures such as the Cheapside Hoard can be shared with more visitors than ever before. They are now on the cusp of launching a major fundraising campaign for its new museum and Berganza as a proud sponsor, looks forward to being part of this fantastic project. If you are interested in supporting key work at the Museum of London, including the vital care, conservation and analysis of their incredible collections such as the Cheapside Hoard, they would love to hear from you. Find out more at www.museumoflondon.org.uk/support-us/donate
By the conclusion of the evening visitors felt inspired and enlightened by the breadth of knowledge and passion shared by the event organisers and curators. There was also a sense of hope for the future with impending improvements and expansion on the horizon. With the inevitable changes in the future, Berganza Ltd are proud sponsors and supporters of the Museum of London and aim to ensure that the historical artefacts and vaulted collections are preserved for the future generations.