Cardinal Wolsey's fall from favour meant that the tomb he had planned for himself was never completed. Four bronze angels, three or four feet tall, were to stand at the corners of the tomb. They were commissioned from and made by the Florentine sculptor Benedetto da Rovezzano; their elegant athleticism reminds us that he was a contemporary of Michelangelo. Then Henry VIII wanted the angels to be used for his own tomb but his successors failed to honour his wishes. Elizabeth I moved the incomplete tomb to St George's Chapel in Windsor and then during the Civil War parts of it were sold off and the angels went to a country house in Northamptonshire. They were later separated as pairs and went 'missing'.
Now that their provenance has been established, the Victoria and Albert Museum is appealing for financial contributions from the public to supplement various grant applications . The Ipswich Society Executive has decided to make a donation because of the Wolsey connection. Although the tomb was never completed, something of such historical and artistic importance associated with Ipswich's most famous son seemed an appropriate cause for the Society to be involved.
At present the angels are mounted on pedestals and I think look rather lost in the V&A's big Medieval and Renaissance Sculpture Gallery. But spaciously displayed with a mock-up of the impressive original stone chest (which now, minus angels, houses Nelson's body in the crypt of St Paul's Cathedral) they could be a spectacular sight and a visitor attraction. I would hope that they could be seen in Ipswich, even if only for a brief visit.
See the Wolsey Angels Appeal website for more.