Sponsor one of our objects

Wiltshire Museum cares for almost one million artefacts that tell our county’s story. Some urgently need conservation work and your help to fund specialist care would be greatly appreciated.

* You can support the whole cost or donate a smaller sum towards the restoration.

* You could leave a sum to us in your will.

* It’s also a perfect gift for that ‘person who has everything’.

Your kind action will be recorded on our documentation system and when the object becomes one of our website 'Collections Highlights', making you part of the object’s story, as well as preserving it for future generations.

Below, you can see some of the items that need care; there are others if you have a specific subject area that you would like to support.

Our curatorial team look forward to meeting you and showing you the object that you would like to help, both before and after its conservation.

Please contact us on hello@wiltshiremuseum.org.uk or 01380 727369

A. C. Smith Presentation Volume

This beautiful hand-written and hand-illustrated book dates from the early days of our Society (DZSWS:MSS.4528) and was donated during lockdown - having been rescued from a skip in the 1960s/70s!

It was presented to the Rev. Alfred Charles Smith as “a memorial of his exemplary and valuable labours on behalf of the Society”. At that time he had been “for nearly thirty years a most indefatigable and industrious honorary Secretary of the Society and Editor of its Magazine”.

The album actually records WANHS members who contributed to a present for his daughter, Jane Emilia Smith, on the occasion of her marriage to the Rev John Penrose (curate of Potterne) in Yatesbury on 22 April 1884. The presents were a ‘magnificent silver tray and four candlesticks’ - we wonder if they’ve survived?

Smith was Rector of Yatesbury and compiled the ‘Guide to the British and Roman Antiquities of the North Wiltshire Downs in a Hundred Square Miles around Avebury’ and wrote Pilgrimage and Attractions of the Nile, the latter being of such interest it was reprinted in 2018. The end boards of the presentation volume are “made from wood from the Holy Land and Egypt”. The volume is bound in plain black boards with a thin gold border, but inside are colourful pages of calligraphy, a watercolour of Stonehenge and black and white photographs of many of those who contributed to the wedding gifts. Research into the individuals listed is ongoing, with the aim of creating a small display in the Long Room in due course.

It is a vitally important document about our history but urgently needs rebinding and conservation cleaning to protect it for the future. We will also scan the photographs so that we can research and highlight the stories of our early members.

Cost:  £650

‘The Melksham Ox’, Thomas Barker, 1838

Showing a skull of bos primigenius found in the Avon at Melksham 1838.

Bos primigeniusis is a species of ferocious widl cattle, better known as aurochs, which became extinct in the Mesolithic period, some 7,000 years ago.

This oil painting (DZSWS:1983.6142) requires extensive conservation work to restore it to its full glory.

Height 865 mm; width 1550 mm

Estimated cost:  £4,000

Oil painting showing skulls and horns of two skulls of aurochs, an extinct species of wild cattle

Medieval gilt-bronze spur from the Royal Castle at Ludgershall

Dated to 1350-1400, the tumultuous years of the War of the Roses and the decade  afterwards.

This item (DZSWS:1990.2.2950) is normally on display in the Museum, with your help we can conserve it so it can return it to the gallery.

Cost : £750

Medieval spur, gilt bronze

Lucretia Withers
Unknown artist, c1760

Oil painting featuring Lucretia Withers, wife of Devizes goldsmith Ralph Withers and daughter of Ralph Good, goldsmith and mayor of Devizes (DZSWS:2000.1002).

Requires conservation and cleaning.

Width 605 mm; height 730 mm

Estimated Cost: £3,000

Portrait of a Georgian lady - Lucretia Withers

Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, Third Marquis of Lansdowne

This characterful portrait (DZSWS: 2000.1004) requires conservation and cleaning.

Width 650 mm; height 730 mm

Estimated cost: £3,000

Oval oil portrait shwoing a distinguished elderly gentleman


We are grateful to our supporters who have already sponsored these items.

Shepherds’ hut with Stonehenge on the horizon Unknown artist

Atmospheric nineteenth century oil painting (DZSWS:2015.1004) requiring conservation and cleaning.
Height 295 mm; width 445 mm.

Find out more about the painting here.

Cost: £1,000 plus VAT.

Sponsored in memory of Andy Knight, 1961-2022

Oil painting showing a sunset with a shepherd's hut in the foreground and Stonehenge on the horizon

Volume of Kemm watercolours of Wiltshire, c.1860

This compilation of watercolours (DZSWS: 1982.1077- 2338) is a fascinating architectural record of Wiltshire’s churches in the 1860s. It contains 1261 pages, which urgently need rebinding.

This page shows a stained glass window at Amesbury.

Height 235 mm; width 348 mm

SPONSORSHIP RECEIVED MARCH 2022.  Thank you to the Donor who has now made it possible to rebind this volume of Victorian watercolours.

Watercolour of two stained glass windows, one showing the Virgin Mary

Letters from key pioneer archaeologists to William Cunnington, 1798-1810.

This bound volume of letters (DZSWS:MSS.2598) was in desperate need separating, cleaning and re-binding.  An associated letter book was conserved in 2020, with great results.

The volume contains letters on archaeological and publishing matters from of correspondents including John Britton, Rev Edward Duke, Rev James Douglas, A B Lambert, H. Johnson, William Martin, Rev Thomas Leman, James Sowerby, William Owen and others.  The volume also includes a few drawings and copies of some of Cunnington's replies.

Cost : £6,600 + VAT

Sponsorship achieved with help from the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust, December 2021. Thanks to the donor and the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust, these important letters have now been conserved.

Late Roman Irchester bowl

This type of bowl (dates from 284 - 476 AD) was usually part of a dinner service or perhaps for handwashing and was designed to hang from the ceiling.  Found in Lacock in 2017, roughly a third of the bowl is missing and requires conservation (DZSWS 2018.6).

Cost: £400 plus VAT.  Collections Trust

Fragmentary shallow bronze bowl

Copyright: Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society