Ed Sheeran: Made in Suffolk exhibition at Christchurch Mansion captures the birth of a legend
PUBLISHED: 15:02 19 August 2019 | UPDATED: 17:14 20 August 2019
The serene face of Ed Sheeran gazes out over an amazing exhibition - a collection of images and artefacts which collect together the key milestones of an extraordinarily eventful life and career.
Ed Sheeran: Made in Suffolk is a wonderful collection of original artwork and memorabilia which grounds Ed Sheeran, world famous musician and the best-selling singer-songwriter, back on his home turf.
From his GCSE art folder from Thomas Mills High School, to his first home-made poster for the 2005 gig at the Royal British Legion in Framlingham, to handwritten lyrics to Castle on the Hill this is the story of homegrown talent making good.
This is the story of Ed Sheeran the artist - the man who thinks just as much about the artwork of his albums as he does about the music about to be unleashed upon the listener.
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Ed's parents John and Imogen are art curators and John, worked alongside Ipswich Museum's Emma Roodhouse, to curate the exhibition.
The gallery is dominated by the work of artist Colin Davidson. His larger-than-life oil portrait of Ed Sheeran is flanked by numerous oil studies and large-scale drawings, capturing Ed in a variety of different moods and expressions.
Ed and Colin first met through Ed's father John Sheeran in 2014 before Ed sat for him in 2015. "I had the sitting at Ed's home in Suffolk because I wanted him relaxed. I didn't want it to be another publicity event. I was with him for three hours. We talked as I drew him and we made a connection which was great. I wanted to get different sides of his personality and at one point I drew him with his eyes closed which is a lovely moment of quiet."
Flanking the Colin Davidson portraits at the Wolsey Art Gallery, are two walls of powerful black and white photographs by Mark Surridge which chart Ed's rise from small town musician to global superstar. The pictures also show how the fans reaction to Ed have not changed.
The show includes two of Ed's earliest guitars, a bronze sculpture of Ed by Suffolk artist Lawrence Edwards, countless pieces of career defining memorabilia, original album artwork and personal items. Co-curator Emma Roodhouse said: "We were so lucky that John and Imogen have kept so much of Ed's early life and career. They and Ed have made a real investment in the exhibition. Getting the guitars and the handwritten lyrics, those first handcrafted album covers, are all fantastic. John has offered so much well-thought-out material and it gives us a real insight into this great Suffolk musician."
Ed Sheeran: Made in Suffolk runs until May 3 2020 at the Wolsey gallery, Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich. Admission is free but because of high demand visitors have to book online in advance by visiting: www.made-in-suffolk.co.uk/