Top honour for museum patron Maggi

RENOWNED artist and patron of Sudbury’s Gainsborough’s House museum Maggi Hambling CBE has been honoured by a London university.

The London South Bank University has conferred on her an Honorary Doctorate of Letters.

The sculptor and painter – who is famous for her Scallop sculpture at Aldeburgh to commemorate the life of composer Benjamin Britten – received the award at a ceremony held in Southwark Cathedral last week.

“I’ve always been a champion of Suffolk, smoking and freedom of everything,” she said. “It’s a great honour to be a Doctor of Letters, particularly as I still write them and never touch a computer.”

Rosemary Woodward, from Gainsborough’s House museum in Gainsborough Street, said the museum and staff were very pleased to hear that their patron had received this accolade.

She said: “We are delighted that Maggi has been honoured in this way.

“She is a great supporter of Gainsborough’s House and patron of our friends’ association.

“She has been patron of the Friends of Gainsborough’s House since its formation in 1999 and Maggi is a very popular visitor here.”

Known as a passionate advocate for freedom of choice in all aspects of life, Maggi became the first artist in residence at the National Gallery in 1980 and has captured a long line of larger-than-life characters on canvas and in bronze.

She has produced numerous works for public spaces in London and in Suffolk and lives in the county.

In 1995, she was awarded an OBE for services to art, and a CBE in 2010.

London South Bank University says its honours people who inspire “the next generation of professionals”.

Others who received honours at the same ceremony included distinguished architect David Adjaye OBE, eminent midwifery professional Dame Karlene Davis and human rights campaigner and journalist Peter Tatchell.

The university is one of London’s largest and oldest, with 25,000 students from over 120 countries.