Museum Musings – August 2021

A new exhibition has opened recently in West Berkshire Museum celebrating togetherness.

Exhibition: Together

What does ‘being together’ mean? The exhibition explores the courtship and matrimonial traditions of a small group of people living in West Berkshire, who are from diverse cultural backgrounds.

One of the most common finds, but still relatively uncommon, possibly celebrating  togetherness is “Crown and Heart” motif cufflinks and buttons.

One of these buttons, found near Beech Hill, was acquired by West Berkshire Museum and is currently on display in the hoards gallery. SUR-C21661

SUR-C21661

Based on the typology by Michael Lewis, this is a Type A: Crown above two hearts. It is generally thought that the ‘crown and heart’ device on such buttons commemorates the marriage of King Charles II (r. 1660–85) to Catherine of Braganza (1638-1705) in 1662 (Gaimster & Thornton 2003, 81), but little evidence has been offered to support thistheory (Lewis, 2013: 3).

Another design is Type D: Clasped hands, raised above flaming hearts. This example BH-74F159 was found near Padworth, West Berkshire. Such cufflinks were popular from the second half of the 17th century, when Continental forms of shirt became popular (Lewis, 2013: 6)

BH-74F159

Finds of these cufflink types are made of silver and as such are legally reported to the PAS under the Treasure Act.

The Together exhibition is on display in West Berkshire Museum from 19 May 2021 – 12 June 2022.
Opening Hours: Wednesday to Saturday 10am – 4pm.

Refs:

Gaimster, D R M and Thornton, D, 2003, ‘Rochester, Kent: post-medieval button’ in R Bland and L Voden-Decker (eds.) Treasure Annual Report 2001, London: Department of Culture, Media and Sport, 81.

Lewis M, 2013. ‘Crown and Heart’ Buttons and Cufflinks, The Finds Research Group AD700-1700, Datasheet 46.