Within Christchurch Mansion, there is an array of furniture on display in different room settings from elaborate sixteenth century carved chests to Mendlesham chairs. This type of chair was crafted in the village of Mendlesham, Suffolk, originally by Daniel and Richard Day around 1800-1830 and two examples are shown below. There is also a large selection of ceramics and glass on display, from Lowestoft porcelain to eighteenth century drinking glasses.
Soft paste porcelain items were produced at the Lowestoft Porcelain Factory on the Suffolk coast between 1757 and 1802. A popular form of porcelain design at the factory was a Chinese style blue and white pattern. Over-glaze colours were introduced around 1765. The displays include many teabowls and saucers and also some rarer gift and souvenir items such as mugs containing the wording ‘A Trifle from Lowestoft’. There are also two ‘birth plaques’ and a teapot that has the name ‘Ciscealea Carter’ painted on it.
Martin Brothers and Vulliamy Ceramics
The collection also includes decorative studio pottery, including Martinware jugs. The four Martin brothers specialised in salt-glazed stoneware. The designs include examples of their famous bird jars.
Another studio potter whose work is represented in the collections is Blanche Vulliamy, who was born in Ipswich. She designed strange pottery figures resembling gargoyles and goblins with exaggerated features.
A selection of these types of ceramics is on display in Christchurch Mansion.
The Hawstead Panels
The Hawstead Panels were painted some time before 1610 probably by Lady Drury, a niece of court painter Nathaniel Bacon, for her “painted closet” at Hawstead Place, near Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk. The Drurys transferred the panels to nearby Hardwick House between 1610 and 1615.
Ipswich Museum rescued these rare, emblematic and philosophical images as a complete set from the Hardwick House sale of 1924 and installed them at Christchurch Mansion.