Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 3°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Long Melford: Stately home puts name to face of one of its former owners

12:06 26 March 2014

After years of searching, the National Trust has finally tracked down a portrait of Melford Hall’s long-lost 17th century owner Sir Thomas Savage. Barbara Messling and Trudi Jeffs (NT volunteers).

After years of searching, the National Trust has finally tracked down a portrait of Melford Hall’s long-lost 17th century owner Sir Thomas Savage. Barbara Messling and Trudi Jeffs (NT volunteers).

A stately home in Suffolk has finally been able to put a face to one of its former owners – thanks to a mysterious little red bag.

shares

Sir Thomas Savage, who inherited Melford Hall in 1602 and is an ancestor of royal Princes William and Harry, has long been conspicuous by his absence from the walls of the National Trust property.

This is because the only accepted likeness of the former Viscount existed in a private collection in Yorkshire.

However after a year-long effort by researchers, experts have discovered that a painting previously thought to be of the 17th century Archbishop of York, is in fact Savage.

For months, volunteers at Melford Hall have been searching for an image of Savage to include in a book about the home’s former owners. They visited the Yorkshire painting but were unable to get any closer to acquiring an image until the hall’s National Trust general manager Luke Potter came up trumps with a Google search listing a painting up for auction.

According to National Trust curator, Wendy Monkhouse, Savage held the important post of Chancellor to Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of King Charles I, from the mid-1620s until his death in 1635. Whoever held this post was painted with a richly embroidered red purse of office, bearing the cipher ‘HMR’, and this is what finally identified the painting’s subject.

Ms Monkshouse said: “When a painting came up in the web search as being up for auction at Christies, it was listed as 17th century Archbishop of York John Williams.

“But it piqued our interest because it showed him sitting with a little red purse of office. Williams never held the post and further research by Christies unearthed that it was actually Savage in the picture.

“Comparison with the painting in Yorkshire strongly suggested this was the same man.”

So using a legacy from three local women, the National Trust was able to buy the painting at auction for £6,000.

While undergoing conservation work at the Hamilton Kerr Institute in Cambridge, the hidden signature of London painter Cornelius Johnson was discovered beneath a heavily darkened varnish alongside the date 1632. This confirmed that the painting dated to when Savage held the office of Chancellor.

The painting will be on public display when Melford Hall reopens on April 2.

shares

1 comment

  • Surely it's actually a case of putting a face to the name? They already knew what he was called, they just didn't have a painting of him.

    Report this comment

    beerlover

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Volunteers carry the body of a victim on a stretcher, recovered from the debris of a building that collapsed (AP Photo/ Niranjan Shrestha)

The father of a Boxford woman travelling in Nepal managed to contact her this morning, following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in the Kathmandu valley.

The Orwell District Scouts St George's Day open air service by the Leisure Centre in Felixstowe on Sunday

Scouts and Guides proudly raised their flags and paraded through Suffolk towns today to mark St George’s Day.

Angel Hall, missing 14-year-old girl from Leiston

A teenager from east Suffolk who was reported missing yesterday morning has been found safe and well.

Fire in Great Yeldham - stock photo

A ground floor flat was heavily smoke logged when fire crews arrived at the scene this afternoon.

Ipswich Crown Court.

A man who was banned from keeping dogs for 15 years after footage showed him punching and slapping his two Labradors has had the disqualification reduced from 15 years to 10.

Lowestoft Town centre.

A fire broke out on the ground a semi-detached house on Victoria Road this morning.

Shawn Leek setting out on the first of seven marathons. Today he hopes to complete the challenge

Thousands of runners this morning lined up for the start of the 35th annual London Marathon, each with their own personal goal.

Suffolk Cycle Sportive for St Elizabeth Hospice at Alton Water.

A charity has reported a rise in the number of women joining their annual Suffolk Sportive cycle event in the wake of the high-profile Women Tour passing through the county.

Fans at the Ipswich Town v Nottingham Forest game.

The atmosphere at Portman Road was electric yesterday as fans packed the terraces to see the play-off bound Blues in action against Nottingham Forest.

Bury Fire Station.

Firefighters from the Bury station were called to the fire at The Vinefields after neighbours reported a strong burning smell.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages