Object of the Month November 2016

Faith, Hope and Charity plaster panel, c.1625

This plaster overmantel panel was installed in the Master’s rooms in the 1620s. The figures represent three virtues: Faith in her armour; Hope with a bird and, Charity – the central figure who gives life to others. The composition is based on a 1572 Flemish engraving of the three theological virtues, after a drawing by Maarten de Vos. The names of the London craftsman who made the piece is not known, but the relief may be the work of Kelham Roades, George Ubank or James Leigh, who are all recorded as carrying out plasterwork for Sutton’s Hospital around this time.

The subject of the plaster overmantel would have reminded the Master and his fellow governors of the charity and virtues of their founder, Thomas Sutton. It was said of Sutton that he kept his ordinary expenses to a third of his income ‘and gave about an eighth in charity; Mr Sutton far from a Miser lived generously and well’.

The overmantel originally hung in the Master’s lodgings, on the south side of Master’s Court. Following the destruction of this wing of the building during the 1941 Blitz, the panel was restored and relocated. It has recently been moved to form the centrepiece of the section devoted to Thomas Sutton in the new Charterhouse museum.

We hope you will come and enjoy a visit to see the Faith, Hope and Charity overmantel when our museum opens to the public in December 2016.

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