The Victoria and Albert Museum has raised funds to buy four bronze angels originally designed for the tomb of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, Henry VIII’s influential adviser.
The V&A said last year it would cost £5m to secure the figurines.
The statues are “a vital part of our national history and artistic heritage”, director Martin Roth said.
The cardinal, who appears in Hilary Mantel’s novel Wolf Hall – currently being shown on BBC1 – died in 1530.
The bronze figures, designed to adorn Wolsey’s tomb, were sold during the English Civil War, separated and eventually lost. Cardinal Wolsey’s tomb was never completed.
The pieces emerged recently and were brought together at the V&A for the duration of the museum’s campaign to secure them.
They will now undergo conservation treatment before going back on display.
Mr Roth said: “The Wolsey Angels are a vital part of our national history and artistic heritage. We are very grateful to everyone who contributed to our fundraising appeal to ensure these outstanding sculptures, which were thought to be lost, are reunited and preserved at the V&A for future generations.”
Grants to fund the acquisition included £2m from the National Heritage Memorial Fund. The Art Fund contributed £500,000 and Friends of the V&A gave £200,000.
Fiona Talbott, head of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, said the statues were “extraordinary”.
She added: “Congratulations to the V&A for being so tenacious in securing their future. We feel proud to have played a part too and hope that the Cardinal Wolsey’s Angels – thanks to their current high profile – will attract many admirers both now and in the future.”
The Wolsey Angels
The angels were commissioned in 1524 from the Florentine sculptor Benedetto da Rovezzano as part of a magnificent tomb in the Renaissance style, reflecting Wolsey’s wealth and statesmanship.
Source:: BBC Entertainment