2nd November 2020

The Charterhouse unveils its own commissioned reproduction of the Elizabeth I ‘Sieve’ portrait by Quentin Metsys the Younger

The Charterhouse is delighted to present a special newly-commissioned addition to its Great Chamber – a fine copy of Quentin Metsys the Younger’s portrait of Elizabeth I painted by the artist and painting conservator Ying Yang.  It now hangs on the end wall of the newly refurbished Great Chamber, where Elizabeth I herself was frequently a guest, alongside the Charterhouse’s original and recently restored stored portrait collection.

There have been many renowned noblemen, clergymen and lawyers associated with the Charterhouse many of whom feature in the imposing portraits in the collection.  It was felt that, with so many prestigious men on display, it was important to also ensure a powerful woman in the Charterhouse’s history was properly acknowledged and promoted.  This led to the commission from Ying Yang and the choice of this particular version of the Queen’s image holding a sieve.  The decision to commission a copy also reflects how common this would have been in the 16th century.

The original painting (dated c 1583), now in the Pinacoteca Nazionale in Siena, depicts the Virgin Queen holding a sieve – a symbol of chastity, and also of wisdom and discernment. Artist Ying Yang spent some time studying the portrait in Siena to analyse the painting style, materials, pigments and varnishes used and capture the way it had aged.

The frame for the portrait was also specially commissioned and created by Peter Schade, the Head of Framing at the National Gallery, London.

An interview with Ying Yang, by eminent landscape designer and collector Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, with fascinating details of Ying Yang’s training both in China and in Europe, and the illustrious history of copying Old Masters, can be found in the forthcoming book telling the Great Chamber story – due to be published in 2021.


For further information and images (including images of the portrait in progress0 please contact

Editors’ notes

The Charterhouse

After the dissolution of the Carthusian monastery, the Charterhouse became a grand Tudor mansion, where Elizabeth I was a frequent guest after she stayed there in preparation for her coronation in 1559.  In 1611, with a legacy bestowed by Thomas Sutton, the richest commoner in England at the time, the Charterhouse became a school for poor boys and an almshouse, which it remains to this day.

For more about the Charterhouse, the almshouse, museum and its history visit

YING YANG  (Ying Sheng Yang, born in China in 1961)

Ying Yang is a painter, painting conservator and a professor at the Nanjing Normal University. He attended Nanjing College of Art from 1981-1985 before working as a lecturer at Xuzhou Normal University. In 1986, he came to England and studied at the Wimbledon College of Art. In 1989, he graduated from the Royal College of Art with a Master’s Degree in Painting. He then studied painting conservation under Clare Wilkins from 1992 to1996 and worked as a painting conservator for many public and private collections afterward. His paintings have been exhibited extensively both in China and abroad and have previously been collected by the British Museum (2015), Fitzwilliam Museum (2014) and other public bodies and institutions. He has won many awards and scholarships, such as the Fagus Anstruther Award (1987), the D.H.L Educational Foundation Scholarship (1988), the Burston Award (1989)and the J. Andrew Lloyd Travel Scholarship (1989). He was also short listed for British Airways New Artist Award (1990), Art’91 Young Artist of the Year Award (1991) and The Arthur Andersen Art Award (1993). His early works have also been included in several art books such as History of 20th Century Chinese Art, Contemporary Chinese Art History and 85 New Art Movement.


He currently lives in England and works in both England and China

26th October 2020

The Charterhouse receives lifeline grant from Government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund

The Charterhouse, the seven-acre historic site and almshouse in Clerkenwell, has been awarded £105,000 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future, the Culture Secretary has announced today.

The Charterhouse is one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support. £257 million of investment has been announced as part of the very first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England.

The Charterhouse dates back to 1348, and since then has been a Carthusian monastery, a grand Tudor mansion, a school for boys, and an almshouse which it remains to this day. This extraordinary site is home to over 40 older men and women and their health and wellbeing are our priority. We have therefore been closed to the public since March, which has meant vital income from visits, events, tours and venue hire has halted since then.  Our funding award from the Culture Recovery Fund will allow us to create and develop exciting new projects which enable us to engage with the public in new ways in 2021, and to put in place the practical and logistical changes necessary to be able to welcome the public through our doors once more.

Ann Kenrick, Master of the Charterhouse, said:

“We are delighted and extremely grateful to have been amongst those cultural sites awarded with funding to help us proactively plan and implement our future engagement with the public.  We look forward to devising new ways of sharing our heritage, reaching new audiences, and ultimately being able to open our doors once more.”

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

“This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation. It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery.

“These places and projects are cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country. This unprecedented investment in the arts is proof this government is here for culture, with further support to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the culture sector can bounce back strongly.”

Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said:

“Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages. This life-changing funding will save thousands of cultural spaces loved by local communities and international audiences. Further funding is still to be announced and we are working hard to support our sector during these challenging times.”


Notes to editors:

The Charterhouse, set deep within stone walls in the heart of Clerkenwell, is a remarkable assembly of historic buildings dating from the 14th century.  Over the years it has been a monastery, a grand Tudor mansion, a school and, as it has remained for over 400 years, an almshouse. In 2017 parts of the Charterhouse opened to the public for the first time in its 660 year history, revealing the great story of this unique seven acre site at the heart of London, and thereby creating income for the Charterhouse’s trading arm Carthusia Ltd which in turn preserves the site’s heritage and its mission to share it with the public and generations to come. To find out more about the Charterhouse, its museum, tours, venue hire and learning centre, and newly re-opened and refurbished Great Chamber, please visit

Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. We have set out our strategic vision in Let’s Create that by 2030 we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high quality cultural experiences. We invest public money from Government and The National Lottery to help support the sector and to deliver this vision.

Following the Covid-19 crisis, the Arts Council developed a £160 million Emergency Response Package, with nearly 90% coming from the National Lottery, for organisations and individuals needing support. We are also one of several bodies administering the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund and unprecedented support package of £1.57 billion for the culture and heritage sector. Find out more at


8th October 2020

The renaissance of the Great Chamber

Revealing the newly refurbished and renovated Great Chamber at the Charterhouse

The Charterhouse, the seven-acre historic site on the edge of the City of London, is delighted to announce the completion of the major refurbishment of the Great Chamber, the jewel in the crown of our Tudor history.  Made possible with funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and our generous donors, the works started in January and have involved a host of artisan specialists under the direction of Richard Griffiths Architects who were awarded the commission.

Discover the Great Chamber here.

The Lord Mayor of the City of London was kind enough to join us on 7th October for a private virtual launch, featuring talks from many of the key players involved, and offering the Master, Ann Kenrick, the opportunity to thank the donors, The Wolfson Foundation, the Linbury Trust, and the Schroder Foundation, and all those who contributed to creating the grand new interior.

As the doors were opened to reveal the transformation, Alderman William Russell, the Rt Hon the Lord Mayor of the City of London said: “As a member of the Charterhouse’s Development Committee, I am very excited to see the success of this project in person. In my view it is one of the most splendid rooms in London, if not the country, and now this magnificent space has been restored to its former glory and fit for a queen once again. I hope, as I am sure we all hope, that visitors will be able to enjoy it and appreciate its majesty for themselves soon.”

In normal times we would be throwing open our doors to the public to discover the sumptuous changes in person but, as an almshouse charity, we need to stay closed during the pandemic until we can ensure the safety of our older and more vulnerable residents. In the meantime, we have created a virtual experience of the transformed Great Chamber on our website, where you can discover more about its history, the splendid collection of portraits now on display, and the detail of the refurbishment project.

The aim of the project was to create a more environmentally sustainable interior that also did better justice to the Chamber’s extraordinary history and splendour. The project will also ensure the Chamber’s suitability for an expanded range of ways it can be shared with the public.  Our plans are of course on hold, but as soon as we can open again the intention is to attract new audiences to concerts, exhibitions, and other events to raise income for the Charterhouse charity – the almshouse originally established in 1611 and still flourishing today. The funding award will also go toward staffing and implementing an outreach programme aimed at introducing diverse audiences from the local community to the history of the Charterhouse and its purpose today.  We have already initiated this Community Engagement programme, running creative online workshops, inspired by aspects of the Great Chamber and its portraits, with partners such as North London Cares, Age UK Islington, and BlindAid.

Project background

The Great Chamber represents an important example of London’s history, originally built by Edward North in the 1540s, and referred to as the ‘Throne Room’ after Elizabeth I held her first Privy Council there before being crowned Queen of England. The Chamber was the backdrop to decades of Tudor intrigue and plotting and remained the jewel in this grand Tudor Mansion until it suffered serious bomb damage during WW2.  After the war a major project was initiated to renovate the room to match the one remaining undamaged section, and has been well used and much admired since.

Richard Griffiths Architects were selected, after a competitive tender process, to conceive and implement the redesign.  A significant new development was the moving of the Charterhouse’s most notable portraits onto the walls of the Chamber, having been cleaned and renovated by conservator Jim Dimond.

The New Great Chamber
The new design references several different architectural schemes from different centuries.  The colours from the fireplace and overmantel (dating from the 16th and 17th centuries) ar carried throughout the space and a green silk moiré provides the backdrop for our important collection of Restoration portraits.  The floor has been replaced with boards of varying sizes and widths, referencing its post-Reformation origins.

The portraits of the Charterhouse
The works to be hung in the Great Chamber comprise large seventeenth century oil paintings of our Restoration era governors and include portraits of some of the periods most influential and controversial Royals, politicians and religious leaders.  The pre-eminence of the sitters attests to the prominence of the Charterhouse during the period.  They include portraits of the Duke of Monmouth, the Earl of Craven, the Duke of Buckingham, Gilbert Sheldon (Archbishop of Canterbury), Anthony Ashely Cooper – first Earl of Shaftesbury and Charles II.

The collection is mentioned in Vertue’s notebooks in 1736.  The collection continued to be highly regarded and discussed in numerous documentary sources of the 18th and 19th centuries.  In May 1941 the Charterhouse was bombed and the paintings were evacuated and did not return to London until 1957, by which time it seems that they had slipped from public and academic consciousness. Recent funding from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art has enabled on-going research which has established the collection’s broader cultural and historic significance, both to the institution and wider fields of academic study.


You can watch the video of the Great Chamber being formally opened by the Lord Mayor of London here.

Editor’s notes

·       The Charterhouse, set deep within stone walls in the heart of Clerkenwell, is a remarkable assembly of historic buildings dating from the 14thcentury.  Over the years it has been a monastery, a grand Tudor mansion, a school and, as it has remained for over 400 years, an almshouse. In January 2017 parts of the Charterhouse opened to the public for the first time in its 660 year history, revealing to the public the great story of this sprawling urban oasis at the heart of London, and thereby raising income for the charity and maintenance of the buildings. To find out more about the Charterhouse, its almshouse, museum, tours, venue hire and learning centre please visit

·      About The National Lottery Heritage Fund
Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.
Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund

·       For further information about Richard Griffiths Architects visit


·       For further information about Jim Dimond visit





4th July 2020

The Charterhouse announces the appointment of new Preacher

The Charterhouse, the 7-acre almshouse and historic site between Barbican and Farringdon, is delighted to announce the appointment of a new Preacher, The Revd. Canon Ann Clarke.  Canon Ann joins the Charterhouse from her role as Associate Priest for the Wanstead parish in London, previous to which she was Priest -in-Charge in North Bersted and an Honorary Canon for Chichester Cathedral.

Canon Ann says: “The challenging and exciting times I have been through both in Parish ministry and secular employment should equip me well to support the Charterhouse as it looks to becoming a more outward looking institution.

I am passionate about inclusivity and would see it as my role to involve, stimulate and engage those who want to be involved, and give of my best to be a catalyst for cohesion and harmony.

The role of Preacher goes back to when the Charterhouse charity was founded by Thomas Sutton in 1611. Today it is not only a role concerned with the religious life of the residents (known as Brothers) here, but includes the pastoral care and wellbeing of the whole community whether religious or not, and the development of the Charterhouse’s outreach and role in the wider community in Islington and the City.

Ann has more than 45 years experience both in education and in diverse roles in the Church. Her work has often focused on inclusivity and working in local communities, offering counselling as well as spiritual guidance.  Her energy, modern outlook, wisdom and relevant experience make Canon Ann a very good and positive fit here at this charitable institution which is home to over 40 older people from different backgrounds.

The Brothers and Governors all took an active part in interviewing and selection, and when the final decision was made, Dr Michael Harding, one of the Governors said: “At this time of challenge, the appointment of Canon Ann is such a joy and full of promise; her passion, enthusiasm and experience will be most welcome.”

Ann will be moving to the Charterhouse in September, and taking over the role previously held by the Revd. Robin Isherwood for five years and who has now retired.


Editor’s notes:

The Revd. Canon Ann Clarke
Ann felt called to the priesthood aged just 14 and, 37 years and a teaching career later, this calling was finally fulfilled. Ann served her title at St Gabriel’s Aldersbrook followed by eight years as Team Rector of Becontree South in Dagenham. She then became Priest-in-Charge of North Bersted for eight years in the Diocese of Chichester and is a Canon Emerita of Chichester Cathedral. She has most recently been an Associate Priest in the Parish of Wanstead, East London.

9th April 2020

Message from the Chairman

I hope this message finds you and your families well at this strange and anxious time.  Life at the Charterhouse has changed out of all recognition as the Master and Governors have instigated a series of measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the Brothers.  They are now effectively ‘locked down’ in their apartments, only leaving to collect meals and to exercise within the grounds.

The Brothers have adapted to these constraints with stoicism and good humour.  Their determination to beat this dreadful virus is second to none and their attitude has been admirable, individually and collectively.  Our staff have risen to the challenge wonderfully well, whether personally caring for the Brothers or working from home.  I also recognise here those members of staff who have been temporarily ‘furloughed’, accepting as they do that this is in the best interests of the charity.

Above all I pay tribute to the inspirational leadership being displayed by our Master Ann Kenrick.  She carries an enormous burden on her shoulders and is an immensely reassuring and capable presence to the Brothers and staff alike.  We are fortunate indeed to have her.

The seriousness of the battle we face is hard to exaggerate.  We have been greatly sustained by the many messages of encouragement and support for the Brothers and for our dedicated staff.  They are much appreciated so please keep them coming.  The Charterhouse has faced many vicissitudes in its 400-year history (though few as insidious as this invisible enemy); we have overcome them all and I am confident that we will defeat this one too.

I end with the words of Her Majesty The Queen, our principal Royal Governor, in her remarkable broadcast to the nation:

“..We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.”

Major General Andrew Ritchie CBE


2nd April 2020

Dr William Frankland 1912 – 2020

We are deeply saddened by the death this week of Dr Bill Frankland – a private resident here in the care home at the Charterhouse for the last two years.

Dr Bill, as we knew him, was an extraordinary man, highly revered and admired by the medical world and beyond for his pioneering working in allergies and immunology.  Extraordinary also that he had just celebrated his 108th birthday! Right up until recently he was still writing academic papers, and was still frequently being interviewed by national and international media wanting to tap into his exceptional knowledge and expertise.  He was also often asked for the secret of his longevity to which he always responded that it was his work, and an active and enquiring mind that kept him alert and alive.

Despite being a little frail, Dr Bill was an active participant in activities here at the Charterhouse, regularly eating in the Great Hall with the Brothers, and joining in Dancercise every week. He always had a story to tell – whether about his time at Oxford, in the war, or at St Mary’s Hospital College, now part of Imperial – many of which were gripping and fascinating.

Ann Kenrick, the Master of the Charterhouse, adds: “We are very proud to have been able to care for this eminent man and to make a comfortable home for him in the QEII Infirmary here at the Charterhouse.  We send his family and friends our sincerest condolences.  The staff, Brothers and volunteers will all miss him very much.”

(The photo shows Dr Bill admiring a bottle of the beer brewed especially for him by his old Oxford college)

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