A collection of nearly 500 items of renaissance gold and silver has been bequeathed to Oxford University’s Ashmolean Museum by the late collector Michael Wellby. The collection which includes a rare lapis lazuli bowl, made by Dutch goldsmith Paulus van Vianen is valued at £3million.
A selection of the objects will go on temporary display from next month in the museum’s West Meets East gallery before the entire collection is showcased in a permanent gallery.
Professor Tim Wilson, keeper of the department of western art, 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.”
Wellby, who died last year, was a renowned Mayfair dealer, specialising in German silver of the 16th and 17th Centuries. He sold many of the pieces he acquired through the family business but held on to some of the more exceptional items for his personal collection.