Newly discovered painting linked to Norfolk’s Paston family to feature in castle exhibition

The Paston Prospective, unknown artist, c.1640, oil on canvas, private collection.Image: supplied by

The Paston Prospective, unknown artist, c.1640, oil on canvas, private collection.Image: supplied by Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery - Credit: supplied by Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery

A newly-found painting linked to Norfolk's famous Paston family will be put on display for the first time in a major new exhibition opening tomorrow at Norwich Castle.

The show - The Paston Treasure: Riches and Rarities of the Known World - puts the spotlight on the stories behind famous 17th century masterpiece The Paston Treasure which records the lost art collection of the family who once lived at Oxnead Hall.

Today it has been revealed that the show will also feature an intriguing lesser known painting which was recently discovered to have connections to the Pastons.

That work, painted in about 1640 a couple of decades before The Paston Treasure, is called The Paston Prospective.

Depicting a grand imaginary building, it may have been commissioned by Sir William Paston as the vision of what he would have liked to create at Oxnead.

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However, less than a century later, the Pastons were bankrupt and Oxnead abandoned.

The Paston Prospective is the latest in a long line of discoveries related to The Paston Treasure that have been the result of a 10-year collaboration between Norwich Castle and the Yale Center for British Art (YCBA).

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It was found in a private collection by Simon Swynfen Jervis, director of arts publication The Burlington Magazine and a former director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, who recognised the Paston coat of arms in the painting which had also been combined with the Hewitt family's coat of arms.

This provided a clue to the painting's date because in July 1640 Sir William Paston wed Margaret Hewitt.

Exhibition curator Dr Francesca Vanke said: 'We were delighted with Simon's discovery of this fascinating picture, just in time for our showing of the exhibition. It builds further on the findings of the research project and throws yet more light on the Paston family's interests and aspirations in the crucial period just before the Civil War.'

The new exhibition, a version of which was presented at YCBA, reunites The Paston Treasure with some of the rare works of art that the painting depicts and sheds new light on the Paston family, their Norfolk home and amazing treasures, and the rise and fall of one of 17th century England's most important private art collections. The exhibition runs from June 23 to September 23 - visit

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