Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Shock and awe: Nijmegen helmet gives Carlisle museum a boost

The beautiful face with lips slightly parted and a shimmering androgynous appearance is eerily familiar. It could be the cousin of the world-famous Crosby Garrett helmet, which a small museum in Cumbria raised an astonishing £1.7m for last year, only to be outbid at auction, sparking a continuing controversy over protection for major archaeological finds in Britain.

Tullie House museum in Carlisle is being loaned the Nijmegen helmet for the opening of its new Roman gallery next week. It is one of the treasures of the Het Valkhof museum, at Nijmegen in the Netherlands where it was excavated, but they agreed the loan without hesitation. Other loans are coming to the gallery from the British Museum, and private collectors.

Like the Crosby Garrett, the Nijmegen helmet is silvered with gilt eyelids and lips: it would have given the wearer an unearthly beauty.

More at The Guardian