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NADFAS REVIEW/ SPRING 2012 25

Gold: Power and Allure - 4,500 years of gold treasures from BritainOpen: 1 June to 28 July; 10am-5pm (closed Sundays and bank holidays) Venue: Goldsmiths' Hall, Foster Lane, London EC2V 6BNContact: 020 7606 7010www.thegoldsmiths.co.uk www.whoswhoingoldandsilver.com Admission: FreeGroup Visits: Email promotions@thegoldsmiths.co.uk in advanceUnderground: St Paul's, Mansion House, Barbican, Blackfriars Bus: 8,11,25,100,242,521,56,172neckpieces, some of which are over 4,500 years old, still evoke desire now.As a universally recognised store of wealth, the story of gold and the control of it links Britain with the rest of the world. Gold coins fi rst appeared in Celtic Britain, in imitation of Roman examples. The arrival of Byzantine bezants and Venetian ducats in Anglo-Saxon Britain testify to the growth and importance of trade. The story of our currency is told via the minting of key gold coins from Henry VII's sovereign (1257-8), via Charles II's guinea made from newly exploited gold from West Africa, to George III's new sovereign and the issue in 1987 of Britannia Bullion coins. The ability of London to attract gold meant that by the 19th century it had become the 'Metropolis of the World'.As merchants, missionaries and military employees from Britain traversed the globe they brought back gold. Thomas Davies, who owned a sugar plantation in Barbados and worked for the East India Company in West Africa, brought home the fi nest guinea gold. Thanks to the National Museum of Wales, there is in the exhibition the 'fayr communion cupp', made in 1662 from that West African gold, which he presented to his church at Welshpool. The subjugation of the Ashanti tribe in 1873 by the British is memorialised in the large silver-gilt dish, made by R & S Garrard & Co in 1874. It encapsulates a gold symbol of Ashanti tribal offi ce - a soul washer's badge - taken as ransom, at its centre. The badge was part of a larger group of gold treasure forming the indemnity paid by the Ashanti King and was bought and exhibited by Garrard's in 1874. The gold was being sold to create a fund for the families of the expedition's dead and wounded. The story of this object is as complex as that of the Empire.The exhibition also reminds us that ordinary lives were, and still are, measured out via golden markers. A gold teething rattle from the National Museum of Scotland; rings from a private collection; and a pair of early 18th century chocolate cups made from melted down mourning rings show how birth, marriage and death were celebrated with gold. The exhibition will reach beyond the capital, via a countrywide Gold Trail which will chart publically accessible collections connected with gold. Together with the book of the exhibition, the Goldsmiths' Company hope this event will raise awareness of the history and future of this metal. ?See page 8 for a NADFAS Event related to this exhibitionAbove: Life-size mechanical mouse, c2002Left: The Irish lunula c2000-1500 BCTop left: An Ashanti gold soul washer's badge is mounted into a late 19th-century silver-gilt dishImages: © British Museum; Worshipful Company of Drapers & Richard Valencia; Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum; Bowes Museum Below: Basket-rings, 2,470 BC, the oldest gold objects yet found in Britain26 NADFAS REVIEW / SPRING 2012 www.nadfas.org.ukGOLDSMITHS' COMPANY