The Tudor Society

A Tomb fit for a King – Benedetto’s candelabra for Henry VIII

Henry VIII candelabraCardinal Thomas Wolsey was patron to the Florentine scuptor Benedetto da Rovezzano (1474-1552) and commissioned him to make a lavish Renaissance style tomb for him. The project comprised a beautiful black marble sarcophagus and four bronze angels, each measuring around a metre in height, which are now known as Wolsey's Angels.

Following Wolsey's fall and death in 1530, Henry VIII took the sarcophagus and angels for himself and commissioned Benedetto to carry on with the tomb project. The additions to the tomb included four bronze candelabra which were nearly 3 metres in height. The tomb was not complete at Henry VIII's death and the King ended up being buried in a vault in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. The sarcophagus was later used to entomb Horatio Viscount Nelson in St Paul's Cathedral, London. Wolsey's Angels were lost for some time, but were then located and saved by the Victoria and Albert Museum, who launched a campaign to save them - see The Wolsey Angels Saved for the Nation. As for the candelabra, they can be found in Saint Bavo's Cathedral, Ghent, having been acquired by the Bishop of Ghent in the 17th century.

Thank you so much to Riezz Kienhuis-nagtegaal for sending me these photos he took of the candelabra and for allowing me to share them with you.

There are 3 comments Go To Comment

  1. M

    These are wonderful photos andyou can see the detail of the Tudor iconography really well. They may well have ended up in the smelter’s had they remained in England!

  2. S

    Stunning . I did not expect the detail of the Tudor rose , and oh is that the King ?

  3. r

    Well , I myself was very excited the first time they allowed me near the candelabras and let me touch these pieces of 500 years old , I was trembling when I touched them and I was really moved that they are in a church that I visit regulary .
    I never knew they were bought by Cardinal Triest till I was reading some old books about the cathedral and the art they have.
    When I did read Tudor I was totally in shock that I never saw the Tudor rose on the candelebras .
    But Awell we found them and they are saved for the future ….


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A Tomb fit for a King – Benedetto’s candelabra for Henry VIII