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Lecture: 'The Chichester Lambert Barnard Paintings Revisited: the story continues...'

Picture: Conservators at work on Tudor paintings
Conservators at work on Tudor paintings
Picture: Example of cleaned Tudor Painting
Example of cleaned Tudor Painting

Tuesday 23rd October at 6.30pm

A lecture given by Rupert Featherstone, Assistant Director, Conservation: Fitzwilliam Museum

To take place in the nave of Chichester Cathedral: free entry

Lambert Barnard (1485 - 1567) was the early Tudor painter whose close twenty-year collaboration with his patron Robert Sherburne, Bishop of Chichester, resulted in some of the most important surviving examples of Tudor art in the country - displayed in Chichester Cathedral.  The Cathedral is home to two huge Tudor paintings by Barnard, in its North and South Transepts.  Measuring 14ft by 32ft, these painted wooden panels are believed to be the largest surviving paintings of their kind and are of national importance.  The paintings contain images of Kings and Queens, and of King Henry VIII conferring Royal protection on Chichester Cathedral.  The content of these panels represents a sophisticated piece of political theatre and propaganda, and offers a rare opportunity to imagine how Henry VIII may have been envisaged by his ordinary subjects, in contrast to the courtly art of the period.

These unique paintings had been in a state of deterioration for several years and were urgently in need of protection and conservation.  In view of this, the Cathedral launched a national appeal in 2010 to raise £250,000 to stabilise, clean and protect the panels from further damage, and His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, was patron of this appeal.

Picture: Chichester Cathedral Lambert Barnard Panel
Chichester Cathedral Lambert Barnard Panel

Thanks to a number of generous donors, emergency conservation work started in 2011, and specialist conservators from the Hamilton Kerr Institute (University of Cambridge) worked painstakingly on the historic panels.  Chief among these specialists was Rupert Featherstone, Assistant Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum (Cambridge) and Director of the Hamilton Kerr Institute (University of Cambridge).

In this fascinating lecture Rupert Featherstone will use images to explain the history of these rare paintings and in particular to illustrate the techniques and findings of this important conservation project.  Using state of the art techniques, including microscopic paint sampling, and infrared and ultraviolet examination, the conservation project uncovered an unexpected hidden history of the paintings - revealing how 18th century artists painted over some of the original Tudor images, changing colours, costumes and contexts as they went.  Rupert Featherstone will explain these newly discovered features and reveal the layered and hidden history of these impressive works of art.    All are welcome and entry is free (a retiring collection will be taken to cover expenses).  The lecture will follow Choral Evensong at 5.30pm.

To see The Culture Show's coverage of this project, presented by Andrew Graham-Dixon, please click here.


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