If you want to use this site please update your browser!
20.02.2021

Cheapside Hoard

The Cheapside Treasure is a treasure trove of jewelry from the late 16th and early 17th centuries discovered in 1912 using a pickaxe workers to dig in a basement at 30-32 Cheapside in London, on the corner from Friday Street. They found a buried wooden box containing more than 400 pieces of Elizabethan and Jacobean jewelry, including rings, brooches and chains, with brightly colored gemstones and enameled gold settings, as well as toads, cameos, scent bottles, fan holders, crystal mugs and salt cellar.
Most of the treasure is now in the Museum of London, and some items are preserved in the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

It is assumed that the place where the treasure was found was the premises of a Jacobean jeweler, and the treasure was generally thought to be the jeweler's working stock, buried in a cellar during the English Civil War . Cheapside was in the shopping center of the City of London during the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods, with stores selling luxury goods, including many jewelers. The place, a row of houses on south Cheapside, east of St. Paul's Cathedral and west of St. Mary-le-Bow, was owned by the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths known as Goldsmith's Row, formerly a center for the manufacture and sale of gold and jewelry in medieval London.

Chris Lane suggested that the treasure may have been brought to England from the East Indies in 1631 and was collected by a Dutch jeweler named Gerald Polman. He died en route, and his jewel chest was taken by an assistant carpenter on the ship, Christopher Adams. Eventually Adams was forced to give the box and its contents to Robert Bertie, 1st Earl of Lindsay, treasurer of the East India Company. Lindsay was involved in a legal battle with the Dutch heirs of Polman, but he died at the Battle of Edgehill in 1642.

Goldsmith's Row was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666. The buildings were reconstructed by Goldsmiths' Company in 1667 and rebuilt in 1912. The treasure was discovered by workers in the remains of the old basement beneath the building. The site is now under one new change.

The treasure trove showcases the international trade in luxury goods of the period, including gems from sources in South America, Asia and Europe: emerald from Colombia, topaz and amazonite from Brazil; spinel, iolite and chrysoberyl from Sri Lanka; Indian diamond, Burmese ruby, Afghan lapis lazuli, Persian turquoise, pearls from Bahrain, peridot from the Red Sea; Czech and Hungarian opal, garnet and amethyst. Relatively few pearls have survived in good condition after being buried for about 350 years.

Large stones were often set in bezels on enamel rings. Most gemstones are cabochon cut, but there are several more modern faceted cuts , including rose cut and star cut . A particularly large Colombian emerald, originally the size of an apple, was hollowed out to house a Swiss watch movement, dated around 1600, signed by J. Ferlitt.

Exhibits include a Byzantine gemstone cameo, a Queen Elizabeth I cameo, an emerald parrot, and several fake carved and painted quartz gems . The small red deep seal shows the coat of arms of William Howard, 1st Viscount Stafford , dating the burial of the treasure between his elevation to the nobility in November 1640 and the Great Fire of London in September 1666, which destroyed the aforementioned buildings. Most of the gold is of the "Paris touch" standard - 19.2 carats (80% purity).

The workers who discovered the treasure sold the items to a man they knew as "Stone Jack," an antiques dealer and pawnshop owner named George Fabian Lawrence, who often paid the workers in cash for interesting finds from London construction sites. He was appointed by the Town Hall Museum to search for new objects for its collection and became the excavation inspector of the fledgling London Museum in 1911.

The jewelers' company did not confirm its ownership of the finds, and there was no inquest into the treasures. Lewis Vernon Harcourt, 1st Viscount Harcourt, provided funds to the London Museum to purchase most of the Chipside treasure, although several items were sent to the British Museum and the Town Hall Museum, and one gold and enamel chain was purchased by the Victoria and Albert Museum.  finds were exhibited at the London Museum in Kensington in 1914, to great acclaim. The collections of the Town Hall and the London Museum merged when they merged to form the Museum of London in 1975.

The entire hoard was shown together for the first time in more than 100 years at the Museum of London, from October 2013 to April 2014.

UP