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Friday, 18 April 2014

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Premiere should have been here


IT QUICKLY became a Cumbrian superstar. The eyes of the world widened at its sensational an intricate beauty.

The Crosby Garrett Roman cavalry helmet, discovered in a Cumbrian field, was bought for £2.2m by a private collector who outbid Carlisle’s Tullie House at auction. And now it will go on public display for the first time.

Named after the village near where it was found, the 2,000 year old helmet – a masterpiece – is to feature as part of a Royal Academy show called Bronze.

Bronze co-curator David Ekserdjian said “Even if this helmet had been known about for as long as anybody can remember, we’d still want it in the show because it’s a fantastic work of art.

“But the fact that it came out of the ground in 2010 doesn’t fail to add to its interest and appeal.”

The helmet will join sculptures by Rodin, Picasso, Giacometti, Henry Moore, Jeff Koons and Anish Kapoor in the London exhibition.

Quite an outing for a piece of ancient Roman sporting headgear, discovered at the northern most reaches of the Roman Empire, after having languished for two millennia deep under Cumbrian soil.

But would not the romance and mystique of this extraordinary piece have been enhanced, had it not made its first public appearance in the county of its remarkable discovery?

What a terrible shame to have failed to acknowledge – or even sidelined – the inextricable and direct link Cumbria has with the lives of those proud Romans who did so much to shape her history.


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