The great statesman and cardinal Thomas Wolsey enjoyed great favour as a close friend of King Henry VIII – indeed his informal title was alter rex, or ‘other king’. His fortunes turned when tasked to oversee the annulment of the King’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon in negotiation with Pope Clement VII, which resulted in England’s split from the Roman Catholic Church. Wolsey had been made the Archbishop of the See of York in 1514, a role to which he truly turned in earnest in 1529 with the failure to secure a royal divorce.
The room is decorated using Cole and Son Boscobel Oak wallpaper, using soft tones of charcoal, gold and cream. The heritage of Cole and Son dates back to 1875 when John Perry established the company in Islington, North London. At the time, this district of London was known for hand block printing. Today, the company’s archive contains some 1,800 block print designs, 350 screen print designs, and a huge quantity of original drawings and wallpapers, representing a myriad of styles from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Cole and Son have designed for Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament.
The art is a reproduction of a piece by the Flemish School from the fifteenth century and is titled Portrait of Thomas Wolsey, Cardinal of York (Ms 266 f.257). It is a sketch from the Receuil d’Arras, a mid sixteenth century manuscript attributed without firm certainty to the Netherlandish artist Jacques Le Boucq. The original was sanguine (red chalk) on paper. The manuscript is of significant interest given that it depicts near contemporary depictions of well-known politicians, courtly or religious persons of the time. This cardinal’s picture adorns the wall of your room, attesting to the great man who led the church affairs of the Minster less than one mile away.
The room is located on the second floor and is configured with a king double bed. The room is triple glazed using the same supplier that the Minster has used throughout the ancient cathedral.