Hoard of rare antiques exhibited

Some of the antiques given to the Ashmolean by Michael Wellby
Some of the antiques given to the Ashmolean by Michael Wellby
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Ten of millions of pounds worth of 16th and 17th century silver and gold antiques bequeathed to a museum by a Haddenham man have gone on display.

Michael Wellby’s collection was given to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford following his death last year.

Spectacular pieces by or attributed to German and Flemish makers, often bearing the arms of their original owners, form the nucleus of the collection, alongside a number of equally rare pieces made elsewhere in Europe.

Around 30 pieces are currently being displayed in the West Meets East gallery, with the entire collection expected to be placed in its own permanent gallery late next year or in early 2015.

Professor Tim Wilson, keeper of the department of western art, who knew Mr Wellby well, said: “The Ashmolean is extremely grateful to Michael and his family.

“This is the most important accession of objects of this sort to any UK museum since the bequest of objects from Waddesdon Manor by Ferdinand Rothschild to the British Museum in 1898.”