Bring King Henry back to life in Charleville Castle


We would like to share with you a fascinating project we are working on — we are reproducing a huge 18th Century Masterpiece which hung for Centuries in Charleville Castle Ireland. The painting, entitled “King Henry the 8th at the baptism of the later Queen Elizabeth the 1st” is a historic and noteworthy piece depicting a scene which foretells the dramatic events which brought hitherto unimaginable change to Ireland and set in motion a growing Irish Diaspora which spans the Globe We are all working together to complete this project over the coming months Our story begins when in 1970, Canadian, Graham Gordon climbed through the window of a derelict castle in Ireland, this Castle. The floors were strewn with debris, rotting furniture and broken glass — a seat of power now long forgotten and lost in a deep primordial oak wood in the middle of Ireland. Light was streaming in through a broken shutter, casting rays across a giant room of intricate ornate design. There towering over Gordon hung a giant 10 foot by 20 foot grimy gilt frame encasing a gutted dark leather-like material. Gordon having felt sympathy for the falling heap of a castle instantly became determined to save this giant painting. The owner gladly sold the painting to Gordon and the painting was carted off on the back of the tractor never to be seen again. Or so we thought? Many years passed and eventually, people came to find the castle and see how they could do something to stop the demise of this almost forgotten treasure. Battling against incredible odds, through decades of rotating volunteers, they took possession of this great building, each year saving more of it and opening it up to be shared with the community both local and international. The faces change but the ethos of this great place remains — a story hard to tell — how does one explain it all? There has always been the story of the missing painting — and sketch of it on the wall was discovered many years back — we searched and searched … In January of this year it suddenly reappeared fully restored at the Beaverbrook Museum in Canada. This is when we became determined to return an exact reproduction of this great painting to Charleville castle In Phase 1 we got permission from the owner. Phase two was the most challenging and we decided that if we could succeed with this phase we could seek funding to complete the return of King Henry to Charleville Castle. We were lucky when we found Arthur. Arthur had honed his skills in Poland before taking on this project to prove his high capability. Since then the reproduction has been completed and the canvas is rolled away – awaiting funding to complete the last phase — this involves the stretching of the canvas 20 foot by 10 foot in the great Dining Room of the castle and it’s mounting in a gilt frame on the wall where it had hung before for many , many years. This project which once seemed impossible to achieve is now within our reach. Soon with your help it will be open to the public. What a powerful statement — that such a masterpiece could be so visibly returned to its rightful place by pure voluntary effort — this is our story and we need you to come on board to help us complete it.

King Henry VIII Unique Review

Showcased for several years in Charleville Castle, the masterpiece of King Henry the 8th at the baptism of the future Queen Elizabeth the 1st is one that can not be forgotten.  As the years passed by, the castle was unfortunately subjected to various acts of vandalism and Charleville Castle slowly became a derelict castle.  But as luck would have it, when the year 1970 came around, a gentleman by the name of Graham Gordon found his way into the castle and upon entering, came across the masterpiece of King Henry the 8th.  Already feeling sympathy for the castle, Gordon was determined to save the painting, and after correspondence with the castle’s current owner, he was granted permission to remove the painting.

Gordon had his own views from when he first came across the painting, and we at Charleville Castle have been fortunate enough to have direct quotes of Gordon describing the painting:

King Henry Painting Value


• Shakespeare’s play, KING HENRY VIII, is accepted amongst most scholars
as his last play. It is generally thought to be written in 1612 and perhaps
partially written by John Fletcher. It was performing at the Globe theatre
when the theatre burned down in 1613.

• The Peters rendering of Henry VIII, Act V, Scene 4, is the most
transforming historical moment of all the Shakespeare’s plays.
For the actual portrait of Henry, Peters used the Holbein original life
portrait of Henry, so the likeness is remarkably accurate..

• It represents the last Scene in the last Act of the play. The climax.
A towering moment when the infant Elizabeth is recognized and baptized.
She is Henry’s daughter and to become the future famous Elizabeth,
Queen of England, in that time so well known now as the “Elizabethan Age.

• The painting depicts the Archbishop of Canterbury at a hugely important
time when Henry VIII was in conflict with Rome over the issues of divorce
and was casting away Roman Catholic power from Britain.

• Archbishop Cranmer and The Lord Mayor of London are there along with the
Duke of Norfolk with his Marshal’s staff, the Duke and Duchess of Suffolk , the
Marchioness of Dorset, God Mothers and Aldermen.

• It represents more than any other painting of the Boydell Shakespeare
the core purpose of Alderman Boydell’s mission . . .
to establish a School of Historical Painting and advance the art towards maturity.

• None of the other Shakespeare plays of the historic Kings of England come close
to the monumental changes wrought by Henry VIII. Henry stands alone as
that towering monarch widely known and written of through history down until
today when the TV series “The Tudors” shines further light and huge interest
onto this powerful and demanding King, quite above and beyond the other
Henrys or Richards of British history. This Act of this Play is that pivotal moment
of British history like no other.

• The Peters Henry VIII, Act V, scene 4, is about the largest of all the Boydell
Shakespeare paintings.

• Its value cannot be judged simply as a ‘Peters” painting. It is a unique Boydell
Shakespeare painting in the light of its monumental historical relevance.

Gordon’s viewpoint on the masterpiece brings such a unique vision, we can only hope it will inspire others to take part in our goal of bringing King Henry the 8th back to Charleville!

Charleville Castle plays host for Teen Aware 2012!

As what started out as an event providing teenagers vital information regarding suicide awareness and to offer support groups for those interested, Teen Aware is only going to be in it’s 2nd year, but has grown to be known as “Ireland’s biggest teen event!!”

Not only will this year’s event be reminiscent of 2011, Teen Aware is adding much more to the venue for 2012!!  This includes the Road Safety Authority, who’s appearance will add activities to educate teenagers on the importance of road safety.  Demonstrations to assist the RSA will include a car crash scenario and an interactive road safety experience!

And that’s only the beginning!  With the Battle of the Bands, teens will have the opportunity to enjoy live music throughout the afternoon and evening, all the while relaxing on the grounds of Charleville Castle!  Bressie, Mundy and The Original Rude Boys are just 3 of the bands scheduled to play of what will be an experience that teens of all ages will love!

Teen Aware starts at 2pm on Friday April the 6th and is scheduled to go until 10pm.  Please note that as this is strictly a teen oriented event, alcohol is highly prohibited and searches may be carried out by the Garda to ensure this policy stays in place.

Charleville Castle is excited to host such an anticipated event for the 2nd year in a row, and we are looking forward to creating lasting memories for each and every one of you that is planning to attend!

Irish Baroque Orchestra visiting Charleville Castle

The Irish Baroque Orchestra (IBO), directed by Grammy nomineee Monica Huggett, will present a beautiful and moving programme of works by Pergolesi, Vivaldi and Ferrandini at Charleville Castle, Tullamore on Friday, March 2 at 8pm.

Entitled ‘The Suffering of the Virgin’, the concert includes Pergolesi’s famous Stabat Mater (a hymn to Mary), and ‘Il Pianto di Maria’   composed by Giovanni Battista Ferrandini (1710-91), from which the title of the touring project is drawn.

This last work, a formidable and skillfully orchestrated cantata, was for many years attributed to Handel. However, ongoing suspicions about its authenticity coupled with further research has, in more recent times, reunited the work with its rightful owner.

The IBO is delighted to be joined by two of Ireland’s finest vocalists for this series. Countertenor Stephen Wallace, an internationally successful soloist and one of Ireland’s most accomplished performers, will be joined by outstanding soprano Mary Nelson, who hails originally from Belfast.

For more information, and online bookings, please visit or call  01 4023518.

Tickets for the March 2 performance, promoted by the Irish Baroque Orchestra in association with Charleville Castle Heritage Trust, cost €15 (conc €12) and are available from Heartbeat City, Tullamore.


Help needed with Chapel Protective Roof Project Head Quarters

Volunteers at work!

Volunteers at work!

Chapel Protective Roof Project Head Quarters

The Chapel Protection Roof Project HQ was built for the ability to manage and assemble a safe plan to restore the chapel roof. This area allows volunteers to continue work in a comfortable environment during harsh winter conditions. The ability to work through the winter will allow for more stability and quicker completion of all the restoration projects. The materials that will be used on the chapel roof has been recovered from the Limerick tunnel project. These materials which are all recycled will be disassembled and transformed into an elegant new chapel roof.

The amount of commitment and hard work that has been put into the Head Quarters has been incredible from all the volunteers involved. Since Castlepallooza 2011, this area has gone through a large renovation. Which include:

– Uplift/restore the floor

  • Install a subfloor
  • New support beams and ceiling
  • Fiberglass insulation in floor and ceiling
  • Hang and design doors
  • Wall building
  • Painting/sealing

These jobs have been completed by just a hand full of volunteers, there are still many jobs that need assistance with this project.

– Hang plaster board on walls and ceiling

  • Design and install bathroom
  • Install wood heaters/ventilation
  • Upgrade floor surface

The Castle needs as many hands as possible, these types of jobs might not be as much fun as the event volunteering; but to make the events fun and safe we would greatly appreciate your help!!

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