THE PASTON TREASURE
Shells, an ostrich egg, and an adored little girl are just some of the treasures of the Paston family, recorded in a 17th century painting on show at Norwich Castle Museum.
Next summer an exhibition will focus on the painting, called The Paston Treasure and, in partnership with experts from the Yale Centre for British Art in the USA, some of the 200-plus treasures collected by two generations of Pastons will be reunited.
One of the cups in the painting is already in Norwich Castle Museum; a silver-gilt flagon is coming from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York,and more objects will be lent by museums in Holland. The exhibition will also include other artefacts similar to those painted for the Pastons, plus paintings, sculpture and furnishings they might once have owned and which would once have filled glorious Oxnead Hall, near Aylsham, now itself just a single wing of the original mansion.
The Paston Treasure includes a portrait of young Mary Paston, holding a song sheet with words about death. She probably died during its completion. Around the same time the family was struggling with debt and the Pastons, who had risen to prominence in just three generations, virtually disappeared within half a century.
Rob Knee plays Sir William Paston, founder of Paston College North Walsham