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Wolsey’s magnificent angels come to Ipswich

Published12th October 2017

A major new free exhibition opens in Ipswich on Saturday – one that sees Cardinal Wolsey’s historic angels arrive in his home town for the first time.

Christchurch Mansion’s appropriately named Wolsey Art Gallery is the setting for the Cardinal’s lost masterpieces – four magnificent bronze angels that were designed for his tomb.

Wolsey was an Ipswich boy who grew up to become Henry VIII’s Chancellor and right-hand man. At the height of his power he planned a grand tomb, decorated with gleaming angels.

Instead, Wolsey died in disgrace and was buried in the grounds of Leicester Abbey. His grand tomb was used to bury another English legend, Admiral Nelson, and the angels disappeared for centuries.

They were eventually discovered on the gates of a golf club and, after two were stolen, a public appeal was launched to “Save the Wolsey angels” and they were bought by the V&A museum in London for £5 million 

Now, thanks to the V&A’s generosity and with the support of the Friends of Ipswich Museums, they are the centre piece of an important FREE exhibition at the Mansion which runs until 11th March 2018. Paintings of Cardinal Wolsey, including an iconic image on loan from the National Portrait Gallery, also feature.

Note to news desks: Philip Wise is the Museum’s curator and the man who is responsible for setting up the Cardinal Wolsey exhibition. He will be previewing the exhibition for the media ahead of the official opening that evening. If you would like to attend this on Friday or arrange interviews please contact Max Stocker at the IBC press office on 07736 826104.

Christchurch Mansion opening times (winter): Mondays to Saturdays 10am to 4pm, Sundays 11am to 4pm.