York Museum Trust announced on Wednesday (13 October 2021) that it had acquired the Ryedale bronzes. The purchase was made possible largely thanks to the generosity of American donor Richard Beleson, with additional funding through Art Fund and a number of individual donors. This enabled York Museums Trust to make the purchase from David Aaron, who originally acquired the hoard at auction. David Aaron had purchases it at Hansons May auction, where the hammer price was £185,000. The items were discovered by detectorists James Spark and Mark Didlick, in May 2020 in Ryedale, North Yorkshire. For details of the find and the pieces in the hoard, see my article Hansons sell Ryedale Bronzes.
Mr Beleson, from San Francisco, who has supported the Museum previously, said: “I first read about the upcoming Hanson’s auction of the Ryedale Roman Hoard on Facebook, and the minute I saw the bronze bust of Marcus Aurelius, I knew there was only one place in the world it belonged – the Yorkshire Museum. I am really looking forward to visiting York and seeing it on display.”
Dr Andrew Woods, senior curator of the Yorkshire Museum, said: “The Ryedale Roman Hoard is a find of national significance and great rarity. Each of the bronze objects exhibit exceptional artistic quality and craftsmanship, making them stand amongst the finest artefacts known from Roman Britain. It is a truly exceptional collection of Roman objects and together they have the potential to greatly add to our understanding of the Romans in Yorkshire and across the North.”
The hoard will initially be on display at the Frieze Masters in London from October 13-17 2021. It will then become part of the Yorkshire Museum’s existing Roman collection and aims to be on display to the public when the museum reopens in Spring 2022.