Review of the Cheapside Hoard at Museum of London



For those of you who know me, who have watched me with a map and been with me looking for somewhere, will know I am a homing pigeon who has been rubbed with a magnet! So it was great to be able to follow signs and street maps in the City to find the Museum of London last Tuesday. The museum has evaded me until now I have tried and failed to find it several times and what’s more I am embarrassed as it is so close to St Pauls!


Before we get onto the nitty gritty I will like to recommend the London Wall kitchen in the grounds of the Museum both @alicemartha and myself had a great late lunch there!


The reason for our trip to the Museum of London was to see the Cheapside Hoard exhibition. The box office had clear place for visitors to queue and the staff helpful. Art fund card members the exhibition is half price and you get a lot of bling for your buck!


Getting into the exhibition was a bit like FortKnocks ladies beware you have to surrender your bags to a locker before going in. Having checked in our bags (it’s a very weird feeling in public) we headed down to the exhibition. To get in its like getting into a football game you go through a turnstile. I can understand why they do it so it stops photography and women with big bags clogging space but it was frustrating as I like to have a note pad and pen with me in exhibitions especially if I am going to a write up.


So when you enter the space the first thing that hits you is that it’s big and there is lots of bling. There is no kind of right way to move around the space this helped as there is nothing more frustrating than entering an exhibition and its clogged in the first part.


First things we saw was the intricate chains wired so they hung as they would have done on Tudor and Stuart frocks. The quality of the gold and workman ship is amazing.


To help understand the pieces there were pictures showing similar items and how they were worn, the various materials and gems and pearls. Some exhbitions use these fillers as they don’t have a lot of exhibits however in this case it was well judged.


Emerald Watch one of the stars of the Cheapside Hoard IMAGE NOT MY OWN

Emerald Watch one of the stars of the Cheapside Hoard IMAGE NOT MY OWN

One of the stars of the show was a stunning emerald case and watch not only was it a massive carrot emerald but it was a very rare and early watch. The 16th century version of a high end car by all accounts.


Some of the pieces were tiny intricately carved cameos from rings and buttons. Other pieces had had a long history before finding themselves into the hoard.  An Egyptian cameo possibly Cleopatra, dates back at lest 2000 years before it was buried with the hoard. The piece is stunning.


There were variety of items used in the 15th & 16th century such as scent bottles pomanders and seal rings. One of the favourite parts of the exhibition was a small door with the exotic perfumes that the pomandars and sent bottles may have contained. It brought this alive made you think of why the people had them and what the Items contained I am just relieved that they didn’t have a window with the smells of 16th Century London!



the 2 pieces I would love to own from the exhibition IMAGE NOT MY OWN

the 2 pieces I would love to own from the exhibition IMAGE NOT MY OWN

picture above is of my 2 favourite pieces that if I could have had any item from the hoard I would have loved these 2. The first is an emerald broach in the form of a salamander. I just think he has so much character is cheery and I love his colour. The second item in the image o the right is of a pendant made of amestist in the form of grapes. I loved pearl versions of this in the pearl exhibition at the V&A a few weeks ago. I would love to have earrings and a pendant made of these. The amestist however maybe too heavy for the ear.


I also loved the pendant below the red and blue and the simple shapes are just so pleasing to my eye. This on a long chain with a black dress or on a black ribbon chocker would look great. What really draws me is the colour.


Another stand out piece from the Cheapside Hoard IMAGE NOT MY OWN

Another stand out piece from the Cheapside Hoard IMAGE NOT MY OWN

I could have easily spent another hour in the exhibition. As you exit there is a film that outlines a possible reason why the hoard was buried. I think this is what captivates us with hoards, it doesn’t matter if they are like this or Roman buried hoards it’s the fact that we have no answers to who buried it, why they buried it, why they didn’t come back, and when. Not sure I agree with the idea the museum posed but it was interesting.


A little disappointed that there was no audio guide to go with it as is a long term exhibition and no seating but the fact that there were magnifying glasses with lights was a very good idea. The shop too had stunning replica pieces however well out of my price range shame there weren’t pieces slightly cheaper.


All in all a great show with great mystery surrounding the pieces. The exhibition was well put together. If anything there was just too much to see and if I am in that area again I think I may have to go back and have look again. This is most definitely highly recommended.



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One Response to Review of the Cheapside Hoard at Museum of London

  1. Nice review. LOVED this exhibition. Plenty of bling indeed! The emerald watch was worth the entry fee alone.

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