December 7 2013 Latest news:
Librarian Gudrun Warren prepares for the exhibition highlighting treasures from Norwich Cathedral. One of the treasures is this medieval seal box, with six locks and keys and two matrices (seal moulds) inside. Picture: Denise Bradley
Emma Knights, Arts Correspondent
Saturday, August 31, 2013
The Norwich Domesday manuscript, ancient fragments from the original bishop’s throne, and centuries-old graffiti are among the historical artefacts featured in a new exhibition opening at Norwich Cathedral this week.
The show highlights 25 treasures from the cathedral’s early origins to the present day, and the chosen items are significant not only to the heritage of the historic venue but also in its role as a daily place of worship.
The special exhibition was prompted by the fact that, while several items from the cathedral are to be included in new exhibition soon to open at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, many of the cathedral’s treasures cannot be moved and so can only be enjoyed in situ.
Gudrun Warren, librarian at Norwich Cathedral said: “This is a wonderful opportunity to see some of our best known features in a new light and to discover some previously unknown treasures from across the centuries. “Visitors will be able to understand the significance of the exhibits not only as historical artefacts but as integral to the life of a church which continues to carry out the same function it was built for over 900 years ago.”
Among the items in the 25 Treasures exhibition are ancient stone fragments from the original bishop’s throne - some of these are carved and depict the Holy Spirit as a dove, a “star from heaven” and two dragons.
The Norwich Domesday manuscript dating from the early 15th century will be on display. It shows records of church valuations made for taxation purposes and lists every parish in the medieval diocese which covered most of Norfolk and Suffolk.
Another exhibit is the nave bosses which are the most extensive collection of story bosses in the world and tell the biblical story from Creation to Last Judgement.
Visitors can see the vestry wall panelling dating from 1530 to 1550 and designed for the former bishop’s palace, although traditionally believed to have come from St Benet’s Abbey.
A collection of architecturally significant structures are also included, some of which illustrate the connection of the site with Christianity before the cathedral was built as well as other more recent additions.
The Betrayal panel, examples of graffiti, and the grave of Edith Cavell are among the other exhibits that form the 25 Treasures.
Meanwhile artefacts from Norwich Cathedral that are due to feature in the exhibition Masterpieces: Art and East Anglia, opening at the Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts this month, include Romanesque cloister capitals, the Passion altarpiece, commonly known as the “Despenser Reredos” and nine order of angels alabaster, a panel which is being reunited with other panels believed to be from the same altarpiece.
• The 25 Treasures exhibition will be open in Norwich Cathedral’s Hostry from September 4 until October 22 during normal Hostry hours and admission is free.
Many of these treasures can only be seen in situ at the cathedral and so a book has been produced - priced £3.99 - which provides a map to follow and gives the location and details about each individual exhibit.
• Visit www.cathedral.org.uk