Watch: Rodin’s The Kiss brings record crowds to Ipswich Christchurch Mansion

Rodin's masterpiece, The Kiss

Rodin's masterpiece, The Kiss Picture: DAVID VINCENT - Credit: Archant

A record number of people have been through the doors of Christchurch Mansion to see Rodin’s The Kiss which has been on display at Wolsey Art Gallery for more than six months.

The artwork has been in the town on loan from the Tate Gallery in London since the end of November – and has brought 33,500 people into the mansion.

The exhibition closed on Sunday – but not until 1,000 people came to see it over the final weekend.

This has propelled “Kiss and Tell: Rodin and Suffolk” to become the most successful exhibition ever held in Ipswich, with an average of 5,500 visitors every month.

Museums Manager James Steward said: “We are delighted with the late surge in April which has seen visitor numbers rocket even higher –300% more people have come through the doors than at the same time last year.

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“We want to continue to attract people of all ages, all backgrounds and from a wide area to our magnificent museums. Once again, I want to thank the Tate for their generosity in lending us this iconic sculpture.”

During its five-month residency at the museum, the artwork attracted a wide variety of visitors – including many who would not normally go to the art gallery.

Among the more unusual visitors were a 60-strong party from British Naturism who came to see The Kiss while wearing exactly the same as the sculptures subjects!

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The number of visitors to see The Kiss beat the previous record of 31,500 who came to see John Constable’s huge landscape of Salisbury Cathedral during 2015-16. That exhibition was on for six months longer than the Rodin show.

Rodin’s The Kiss is one of three versions of the sculpture that he made – it dates from the earliest years of the 20th century.

It was voted the nation’s favourite work of art and features two illicit lovers from Dante’s inferno.

It was on show in Ipswich as part of an ongoing relationship Christchurch Mansion has with the Tate Gallery which tries to ensure some of its best-known works of art are able to be seen by people across the country.

Across town at the Ipswich Art Gallery High Street, you still have until Sunday (May 5) to see the Women 100 exhibition.

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