Chichester Cathedral's Tudor Paintings - by Lambert Barnard

Why are  the Tudor Paintings by Lambert Barnard so important?

Lambert Barnard (1485 - 1567) was a local, early Tudor painter whose close twenty year collaboration with his patron Bishop Sherburne resulted in the creation of an exceptional and unique group of Tudor paintings.

The paintings are built in panels (14ft x 32ft) which are made from individual vertical oak panels being joined together with hessian and chalk glue. Due to their size and rarity they are among the most important surviving examples of Tudor painting in the Country.

The paintings represent an extraordinary piece of political theatre and propaganda. They offer us a rare opportunity to imagine how Henry VIII may have been seen by the ordinary people.  We believe the image of Henry VIII (right) on the Tudor Panels is the only surviving secular image in the Country of the King.

These unique Tudor paintings are in the process of being worked on by the Hamilton Kerr Institute. To read more about the techniques used click here.

Who was Lambert Barnard?

Henry VIII by Lambert Barnard
Henry VIII by Lambert Barnard
Lady Chapel Ceiling by Lambert Barnard
Lady Chapel Ceiling by Lambert Barnard

Lambert Barnard (c1435 - 1567) was an English painter, most likely to have been a local of Chichester. 

He worked for Bishop Sherburne for more than twenty years. During this time he painted the vaulted ceilings of the Cathedral with delicate leaves and foliage (right), the bold and beautiful ceiling of the Tudor Room in the Bishop's Palace as well as the ceiling of Boxgrove Priory and the Nine Ladies Worthy Panels of Amberley Castle (now in the Pallant House Gallery). He even painted a modest townscape on the walls of his home in South Street.

Displaying a clear talent, there are many layers of meaning hidden in the Tudor  Paintings, more of which we hope will be discovered during the stabilisation work. In 1533, at the elderly Sherburne's request, the Dean and Chapter of Chichester Cathedral granted Lambert Barnard an annual payment in recognition of 'his long and good service'.

The Chichester Cathedral Tudor Paintings by Lambert Barnard - why are they so valuable?

'Chichester has had the wit to preserve something very rare and precious: propaganda art which pulls us right back into the Tudor age, and the splendours, passions and perils of the English Reformation. The paintings are also resonant of the deep pride of Tudor Sussex in its already venerable heritage. It is up to us now to do justice to these treasures of Tudor religion and power politics by in turn handing them on safely to generations to come' 
Diarmaid MacCulloch 
Professor of the History of the Church, University of Oxford

'Gaining immediate attention by their sheer size, even in their present state of preservation, the panels are immediately understood as both a representation of events in Chichester Cathedral's history and and as a complex exercise in story-telling'
Karen Coke
Art Historian and expert in the work of Lambert Barnard

Henry VIII Tudor coins c1532
Henry VIII Tudor coins c1532

How much was Lambert Barnard paid to paint the Tudor Paintings?

Bishop Sherburne instructed that Lambert Barnard be paid an annual rate of £14 8s to work in the Cathedral. At 8 1/2d a day this was a generous wage for Lambert Barnard. 

Henry VIII's ordinary painters were paid between 14d and 6d a day for their services. In comparison a farm labourer would earn roughly £5 a year. 

Today a Tudor pound would buy approximately £410 worth of goods or services

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