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In pictures

Apollo Advent Calendar: Day 10

10 December 2013

Apollo is counting down to Christmas by celebrating some of the greatest acquisitions, gifts and bequests of 2013. We’ll take a closer look each day at one of the outstanding objects, works of art or collections shortlisted for the Apollo Awards Acquisition of the Year.

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford,
Gold and silver objects from the Wellby Collection
Pictured: Bowl, c. 1608
Paulus van Vianen (1570–1614)
Lapis lazuli with gold mounts, ht 17cm
The Michael Wellby Bequest

Michael Wellby’s bequest of close to 500 Renaissance and baroque pieces of silver and other exotic rarities has been likened to Ferdinand Rothschild’s historic Waddesdon Bequest to the British Museum in 1898. Wellby, who died in 2012, had considerable expertise as a dealer in German silver from the 16th and 17th centuries, and amassed an outstanding personal collection. Born into a family prominent in the silver trade, he set up independently in the 1960s and actively sought exceptional items, such as this lapis bowl. Made by the Dutch goldsmith Paulus van Vianen, it exemplifies the baroque interest in inventive combinations of exotic materials. A dedicated gallery is planned for the group, which complements the museum’s holdings of English silver and Renaissance objects.