A camera obscura giving views across the Suffolk landscape and new gallery spaces are among the features that visitors will be able to experience at Gainsborough’s House when the redeveloped museum reopens to the public on 21 November.
The house, the childhood home of 18th-century painter Thomas Gainsborough, has undergone a £10m revamp and now offers temporary exhibitions for the first time. The Sudbury gallery has become the largest in Suffolk, with the redevelopment led by architectural firm ZMMA.
The project was supported by a £5m National Lottery Heritage Fund grant and comprises a new three-storey building, designed in locally made brick and flint, housing a new entrance and four galleries. The scheme has also included the restoration of the Grade I-listed late medieval, Georgian and Regency townhouse.
The opening displays will present the world’s most comprehensive collection of Gainsborough’s work, telling the full story of the artist’s life and work, as well as showcasing the widespread influence he had on his contemporaries and succeeding generations.
Mark Bills, director of Gainsborough’s House, said: “The physical transformation of Gainsborough’s House will fundamentally change this historic site, enabling it to become an international centre for Thomas Gainsborough and a cultural hub in the heart of East Anglia, all within the unique environment of the artist’s birthplace and home.”
Adam Zombory-Moldovan, project director at ZMMA, said: “The powerful connection between the landscape surrounding Sudbury and its representation in Gainsborough’s work inspired us to create a new gallery building whose clay and flint materials are brought directly from Gainsborough’s Suffolk landscape. From the expanded museum campus, visitors will enjoy long views of that countryside beyond the town’s rooftops.”