Conservators get to grips with Tudor paintings as Chichester Cathedral appeal gathers pace

By Culture24 Staff | 16 February 2011
a detail from a painting showing Tudor dignitaries in court dress
A detail from the Tudor painted panels at Chichester Cathedral© Chichester Cathedral Restoration & Development Trust
Conservators have begun the painstaking task of restoring Chichester Cathedral’s Tudor Paintings as the urgent £250,000 appeal to save them continues.

The monumental oak panel paintings by Lambert Barnard (1485-1567) measure 10 by 4 metres and are thought to date from approximately 1533-1536.

They show in detail the story of the diocese of Chichester and include images of Bishops, Kings and Queens, and of King Henry VIII conferring Royal protection on Chichester Cathedral.

Believed to be the largest surviving paintings of their kind in Europe, they are on display in the Cathedral Transepts, where the passage of time (and the vandalism of Cromwell’s army in the 17th century) has left them in a delicate state.

Following a national appeal, supported by The Prince of Wales, the Chichester Cathedral Restoration and Development Trust has now managed to raise £202,000 towards their restoration and the urgent work to repair them has begun.

“The paintings are in such a critical condition that it was not possible to wait any longer before the stabilisation could commence,” explained the Trust’s Alison Godfrey, who described the work as “critical” to prevent any further deterioration for the time being. 

“We just hope that visitors, historians and art enthusiasts will now help us with this final amount that we desperately need.”

Viewing platforms have been set up to let visitors see both the paintings at eye level and also the conservators at work. The Cathedral is open every day and there is no admission charge.

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