Plans are being drawn up for an exhibition to be staged, appropriately, in the Wolsey Art Gallery within Christchurch Mansion. The centre-piece will be the four sculptures of angels commissioned by the town's most famous son, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, (perhaps typically) to preside over the grand, classical stone tomb he had commissioned for himself. The tomb was, after centuries, eventually ‘recycled' for Lord Nelson in St Paul's Cathedral and is there today.
The story of the sculptures is summarised in our Newsletter October 2014 (Issue 197), when your Society contributed to the fund to save them for the nation. Of course, Wolsey, Cardinal Archbishop of York and Lord Chancellor of England, never needed the elaborate burial accoutrements owing to his fall from power initiated by his former patron, King Henry VIII.
Various Tudor artefacts from the Museums collection, rarely displayed, will be on show as well as documents, including the Charter granted by the king to found Wolsey's pet project the short-lived College of The Blessed Virgin Mary (1528-31) between College Street, St Peters Street and Lower Brook Street. Only one authenticated painted portrait of Wolsey is known - and that is a copy of a contemporary original. Further copies based on that famous portly profile include one in the Town Hall.
The exhibition in the Wolsey Art Gallery, Ipswich will run from October 14 2017 to March 11 2018. This, following the highly successful showing of the John Constable ‘rainbow' painting of Salisbury Cathedral in the same venue, has the makings of a major draw to Ipswich both locally, regionally and internationally.