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Bishop Wilson's Cabinet

Date made: 17th century

Maker: unknown

Description: This cabinet dates from the mid-1600s and was probably made in Belgium. It is made from pine and oak, covered in ebony, tortoiseshell and inlaid ivory. It has silver mounts and a carved ivory figure of the Madonna and Child at the top. The small ivory urns at each corner were once adorned with carved flames, now lost.

The cabinet belonged to Bishop Thomas Wilson, who was born in 1663 and became Bishop of the Diocese of Sodor and Man in 1697. Bishop Wilson oversaw a programme of church construction on the Island, in addition to the production of the first prayer book in the Manx language. He supported the introduction of an Act of Tynwald to allow tenants to sell and pass down their property and was well-known for his donations to the poor.

There is a reference to Bishop Wilson setting aside a “Poor’s Drawer” in a cabinet into which he would put a proportion of his income. In times of social hardship, he distributed some of these funds to those most in need.

Measurements: overall: 194 x 99 x 48 cm

Materials: wood: ebony

Object name: cabinet

Collection: Furniture Collection

ID Number: 1954-7330

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