By Kelly Wickham
The original King Charles I bust from Chichester’s Market Cross will be returning home from the Tate Britain this winter.
This important historical sculpture will be displayed at The Novium Museum, Chichester, from the end of November and depicts King Charles I wearing a gold crown and chain of office.
The unique bust, which was created by Hubert Le Sueur — an appointed sculptor to King Louis XIII of France who spent most of his career at the English court of King Charles I — was presented to the city of Chichester, where it was displayed in the niche of Chichester’s Market Cross from the 1660s.
When the importance of Le Sueur’s bust was realised, the original was moved from the Cross to Chichester City Council, and later to the Tate Britain, and a replica installed in its place.
“This sculpture is an incredibly important piece of Chichester’s heritage, and we are thrilled to be welcoming it back to the city,” said Stephanie Thorndyke, manager at The Novium Museum.
“The Novium Museum tells the stories of our district, and I’m looking forward to seeing the bust on display within the context of the museum’s permanent collection so that residents and visitors can enjoy its story.
“I’d like to express my thanks to Chichester City Council for generously lending this artwork to museum, where it will be greatly appreciated by our local community.”
Town clerk Rodney Duggua added: “At Chichester City Council, we are delighted that this very important sculpture has been returned.
“It is a reminder of our long history and a reminder of the turbulent times of the Civil War.”
The bust will be displayed at The Novium from the end of November, with a copy of King Charles I’s death warrant.
This loan has been made possible by the provision of insurance through the government indemnity scheme.
The Novium Museum thanked the government for providing indemnity and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Arts Council England for arranging the indemnity.
The museum is open to the public six days a week, from 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday — rising to seven days a week between mid-June and mid-September — and is free to visit, with donations welcome.
For more information and details of the museum’s full programme of events and exhibitions, visit: thenovium.org