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NADFAS REVIEW/ SPRING 2012 21

Over the last fi ve years, gold has taken an increasingly prominent position in the public eye. Rarely a week goes by without this very special precious metal being mentioned in the press. The rising price of gold has been translated into renewed prospecting in Britain, most recently at Cononish and Loch Lomond in the Highlands. You can even indulge in a liquid gold body wrap for the ultimate cosmetic indulgence. The confl uence of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Games in London have offered an unparalleled opportunity to research and celebrate the story of Britain's largely unsung relationship with gold. Where more appropriate to stage this exhibition than the Goldsmiths' Company in London? Established by Royal Charter in 1327, the Company has been fostering the work of goldsmiths ever since. Gold: Power and Allure is the largest exhibition the Goldsmiths' Company has organised. For two months in June and July 2012, the Goldsmiths' Hall will be home to an astonishing array of over 400 golden treasures, from Cornish gold nuggets to the most recent craftsmanship, via a range of thematic displays which explore the role of gold in arenas such as antiquity, dining, fi nance and church and state. The challenge has been to draw together the many threads that make a single precious metal so special and central to human society, revealing the story of Britain's involvement in its exploitation and appreciation.Some of the highlights include a pair of basket-shaped rings discovered in 2002 beside the body of the Amesbury Archer near Stonehenge. Said at the time to have been the richest Bronze Age grave yet found in Northern Europe, the gold has been dated to as early as 2470 BC, making them the oldest gold objects yet found in Britain. Another 'fi rst' includes the earliest-known hallmarked gold to survive from this country, a chalice and paten from Corpus Christi College Oxford bearing the London date letter for 1507. The largest object ever made from Welsh gold, the Castell Carn Dochan cup, has also been lent by the National Museum of Wales. It was commissioned by Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn in 1867 and is based on a design by Hans Holbein for Left: This 1633 gold ampulla held the sacred anointing oil for the coronation of Charles I at HolyroodA golden opportunityA unique collection of items at the Goldsmiths' Company summer exhibition highlights our ongoing attraction to gold. Using selected historical objects, Curator and NADFAS-accredited lecturer Helen Clifford explains the special relationship that Britain and its people have with this precious metal www.nadfas.org.ukGOLDSMITHS' COMPANY