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David Annand's Ipswich statue to honour Cardinal Wolsey
Cardinal Thomas Wolsey statue design for Ipswich
The winning design for Ipswich's statue of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey

The search for an artist to produce a £100,000 tribute to one of Suffolk's most influential figures, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey is now complete.

British sculptor David Annand will create a statue of the cardinal and Chancellor of England.

Wolsey was born in Suffolk in 1471 and is fondly remembered locally for his important building work in Ipswich.

The statue is due for completion around May 2011.

The details of the winning artist were revealed on Wednesday, 7 April, 2010 as part of a special presentation at St Lawrence Church in Ipswich where the chosen artist spoke about his intentions for the piece.

"I like to make sculpture that's at ground level and that people can relate to and look straight in the eye," said David.

"I'm trying to capture some of Wolsey's wisdom and depth so he'll be looking straight back at you and summoning you almost with his hands so you can listen to what he's got to say."

David was chosen from over 50 artists who expressed an interest in working on the piece.

He has been working as a sculptor for some 23 years, having worked as a teacher before that.

David will be working on the piece from his studio in Fife and is excited about bringing the project to life.

David Annand & Dr John Blatchly
David Annand was honoured to meet Dr John Blatchly

"It's a real honour to do this and a wonderful feeling to meet someone like Dr John Blatchly who is just a real local hero."

David's completed work will be placed close to Curson House on St Peter's Street in Ipswich, within walking distance of four parishes of Tudor Ipswich where Wolsey grew up.

The team behind the Thomas Cardinal Wolsey Project are thrilled with the campaign to date.

"I feel that it's really within our reach and that there's such massive local support," said historian Dr John Blatchly, chairman of the patrons of the project. "Everyone has been so warm about the project and feels really quite inspired."

BBC Suffolk presenter Mark Murphy suggested the tribute five years ago as part of a search to find Suffolk's greatest resident.

Since that time fundraising efforts have been in place to make the proposal a reality - with £25,000 still required to complete the project.

"I'm pleased that Wolsey is going to be remembered in this way," said Mark.

His passion for building

Wolsey's dramatic rise to power began after he was ordained, becoming chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury and later to Henry VIII, who employed him on diplomatic missions.

Wolsey's relationship with the king caused much jealousy among his peers, and his wealth allowed him to indulge his passion for building.

Wolsey's Gate

Between 1528 and 1530 Wolsey built the Cardinal College of St Mary in Ipswich. This was a school which was linked to what became Christ Church in Oxford.

Despite Wolsey's fortune and fame his undoing came when he failed to secure Henry VIII's divorce from Catherine of Aragon.

Because of this Wolsey became widely disliked, particularly among those around Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's new love interest and in 1530 Wolsey was arrested for treason.

Following his downfall much of Wolsey's legacy was destroyed, although in Ipswich Wolsey's Gate and St Peter's Church still stand and the cardinal remains an important part of Suffolk's history.

The Parish of St Lawrence

Wolsey spent much of his childhood with his uncle in the Ipswich parish of St Lawrence and the five bells at St Lawrence Church, which date back over 500 years, have become known as the 'Wolsey bells'.

The St Lawrence Church bells
St Lawrence church bells rang again as part of a 100,000 restoration project

Following a restoration project in September 2009, the bells sound just as they did when Wolsey heard them.

The team behind the campaign are keen to see Wolsey recognised for his important work and the efforts he made to improve life for the people in his home town.

"Most towns make sure that their famous son is commemorated in some way, but we just have not done what we should," explained Dr John Blatchly, who is also former headmaster of Ipswich School.

Find out more about the Thomas Cardinal Wolsey Project .




SEE ALSO
Audio slideshow: Cathedral ceiling
07 Apr 10 |  Religion & Ethics
Medieval bells restored at church
02 Sep 09 |  Suffolk
Oldest ring of bells played again
10 Sep 09 |  Today

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