Thursday, May 13, 2010

Portrait of Browne


Why o why is this superb oil painting of Sir Thomas Browne hidden away from the gaze of the general public in the vestry of Saint Peter Mancroft? The Gunton portrait of a very red-haired,slightly older Browne is on display in a wing of the church of Saint Peter Mancroft along with other Browne memorabilia, and to be fair, if one requests nicely, it's possible to obtain a viewing of this portrait. But only if one requests so. Why?

But perhaps with the rise of the internet this portrait has the potential to be better known than any volume of visitor's traipsing into the vestry at Saint Peters'.

Browne attended service at Saint Peter's whenever his profession allowed, but it's his miscellaneous tract Repertorium,  an inventory of artefacts in Norwich Cathedral, which displays his knowledge of the history of the Church of England best.

As ever the city of Norwich is v. slow to proclaim its cultural heritage, probably because, in Browne's case, there's no-one able to mak an articulate statement upon him; perhaps, because somehow, in the imagination of the historically naive, he's wrongly assessed as a non-PC fellow.


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