Collection Highlights: Antiquities
The Cuddesdon Bowl
Anglo-Saxon, 11.5 cm diameter. Of brilliant blue glass with fine trailed decoration, the bowl is probably Kentish, and was made about 600 AD. AN1980.269.
The glass was found in a grave at Cuddesdon, Oxfordshire, in 1847, with another (less complete) vessel, a bronze pail, and jewelled bronze fittings from a lyre – all the sort of accoutrements buried with Anglo-Saxons of noble rank. The princes of the West Saxons were fond of names beginning with the syllable Cuth (Cutha, Cuthred, Cuthwulf, etc.), and it is entirely possible that this grave was of a ‘Cuth-person' who gave his name to the place, which over the years changed from ‘Cuth's dun' (hill) to Cuddesdon. The bowl came to light during the building of a palace for the Bishop of Oxford, then William Wilberforce; it passed into his possession and was eventually sold with the contents of his house and lost from view. It turned up again holding primroses on a mantelpiece in Northamptonshire and was there recognized by the keen eye of Miss Jocelyn Morris, curator at the Warwick Museum. Purchased by the Museum in 1977 with the aid of grants from the National Art-Collections Fund, the Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund, and the Friends of the Ashmolean.
England (Gallery 41), 2nd Floor, Case C304