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Treasures from the V&A 400-1600 in Sheffield

By Stuart Frost

Treasures from the V&A 400-1600AD at the Millennium Gallery, Sheffield.Regular readers will know that I’ve used this blog to provide occasional updates about a touring exhibition of highlights from the V&A’s medieval and Renaissance collections. The exhibition has been to five museums in north America and has now opened in its sixth and final venue before the objects return to South Kensington late in May 2009.

The exhibition closed at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta on 4 January 2009 and opened at the Millennium Galleries in Sheffield on 29th January 2009.  As the exhibition title indicates the objects included in the display are some of the greatest medieval and Renaissance treasures in the V&A’s collections.

With a touring exhibition like this one there is a vast amount of work involved. The objects had to be carefully removed from the display cases in Atlanta, packed securely and then transported across the Atlantic to Yorkshire. The exhibition team at Sheffield have been working over many, many months to plan the exhibition and to link it with their own collections.

Unpacking the Lorsch Gospel Covers, Millennium Gallery, Sheffield 2009. My colleagues on the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries project have been involved in different aspects of the touring exhibition. Some have been involved in deinstallation of the objects at one venue, accompanying the artifacts as they travel between museums and then in helping with their installation once the objects have arrived at the next gallery. Others have been involved in giving lectures, gallery talks or in writing entries for the beautifully illustrated book that complements the display.

I had my first opportunity to visit one of the venues for the exhibition when I travelled to Sheffield during the last week in January. In September 2008 we travelled to Aachen and Lorsch Abbey in Germany to shoot footage for a short film about the Lorsch Gospel covers. These five ivory panels were carved around 810 in Aachen and attached to the front cover of a magnificent Gospel book.

The Lorsch Gospel covers have been part of the Medieval and Renaissance Treasures touring exhibition so we’ve had to wait until the exhibition returned to Britain to film them. The photograph above left shows the case containing the Gospel covers after its arrivial at the Millennium Gallery in Sheffield. The photograph was taken just before case was opened, the object checked and carefully unpacked. Now that the Lorsch Gospel cover has been filmed the first edit of the Charlemagne and Aachen gallery film can be produced.

Click here to find out more about Treasures from the V&A 400-1600 at the Millennium Galleries in Sheffield. The exhibition runs until 24 May 2009. If you have an opportunity to visit the exhibition I’d be delighted to hear your thoughts about it.  You can post your views and comments below. 

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