The 2018 shortlist of 10 works purchased by museums with Art Fund support included a Grayson Perry Posh Art vase, Artemisia Gentileschi’s Self-Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria and Eric Ravilious’ Beachy Head.
Dr Tim Pestell, senior curator of archaeology at Norfolk Museums Service, said: ‘We are absolutely thrilled that the Winfarthing Pendant has been named as Britain’s favourite work of art, especially so given the quality of this year’s shortlist which contained some truly remarkable works.”
The seventh-century gold and garnet pendant was found in Winfarthing near Diss in Norfolk in December 2014 and declared treasure under the 1996 Treasure Act. Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery bought it with support from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Art Fund and the Friends of Norwich Museums earlier this year.
Aristocratic Anglo-Saxon burial
The excavation, carried out by Norfolk County Council’s Find Identification and Recording Service, discovered that the grave where the pendant was buried had belonged to an aristocratic Anglo-Saxon lady who died between 650-75AD.
The pendant is on display at the British Library as part of its Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms exhibition and will return to the Anglo-Saxon and Viking gallery at Norwich Castle by the spring for Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War.
In previous years winners of the Art Fund’s annual poll have included Sir Edwin Landseer's Monarch of the Glen and The Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I. This year more than 5000 members of the public voted for works from the shortlist.