Treasures From The Thames

Southwark Cathedral are delighted to host Treasures from the Thames, a display of mudlarked artefacts presented alongside the work of two contemporary artists, Raewyn Harrison and Liz Willis

The contributors were brought together by a shared love and fascination for the River Thames and the historic artefacts that are found on its foreshore at low tide.

These fragments of the past tell stories of London’s first farmers more than 5000 years ago, Roman invaders, and Medieval saints. They paint pictures of fun and frivolity at Southwark’s Tudor inns and theatres and darker images of prison ships and slavery. 

Many of the objects on display feature in Lara Maiklem’s bestselling book Mudlarking: Lost and Found on the River Thames and Raewyn and Liz have made work specifically for this exhibition that responds to the locations and finds that Lara has written about.

This exhibition challenges our concept of rubbish and shows that these lost and forgotten objects can be transformed into something new and beautiful.

On display in Lancelot Link from Monday 7 September to 30 October 2020

You may find it useful to print out some information about what is on display here before you come.

Free entry via the Cathedral one way system.

Please note that facecoverings are now mandatory within the Cathedral and surrounding indoor areas unless you are exempt.  Please adhere to social distancing guidelines when visiting this exhibition.


Lara Maiklem is the author of award-winning Sunday Times bestseller Mudlarking: Lost and Found on the River Thames (Bloomsbury, 2019). She has been losing herself scouring the Thames foreshore for over 15 years, in pursuit of the objects that the river unearths: from Neolithic flints to Roman hair pins, medieval buckles to Tudor shoes, Georgian clay pipes to Victorian toys. These objects tell her about London, its forgotten inhabitants and lost ways of life. 

Twitter: @LondonMudlark  Instagram: @london.mudlark

Raewyn Harrison is a London based ceramic artist who creates porcelain collections with a strong narrative based on sites and structures that fascinate her. The River Thames is a constant source of inspiration which led her to delve into the archives of Elizabethan Maps of London. Fragments of these images are incorporated into her work. She intentionally leaves a trail of evidence throughout her making process – throwing lines, cast edges, dribbles and imbedded marks.

Instagram: @raewynharrison Website

Liz Willis is a contemporary jeweller. Her work is inspired by the colours, contours and textures she sees in the environments around her while out running, walking or exploring the Thames foreshore. She uses gold and silver wire to form an appropriate shape and then hand stitches over part or all of it with silk threads to add colours and textures that represent different aspects of the landscapes she encounters. She also incorporates other materials, such as pearls, glass beads or mudlarked artefacts, things that show signs of a previous use and history and stitches them into her jewellery.

Instagram: @lizwillisjewellery

Mike Webber is a community archaeologist, educator, and curator. He co-ordinated the Thames Archaeological Survey 1995-2000 and now specialises in the archaeology of the River Thames. The focus for this work has been the artefacts, particularly pot sherds, found on the Thames beaches. Recent work with ceramic artists and makers has led Mike to explore the archaeological and historical evidence for the people who made these artefacts and the techniques that they used to manufacture and decorate them.

Instagram: @mikedwebber