On the 27 October 2019 Gainsborough’s House closed to transform itself as a national centre for art.
A National Centre for Gainsborough
This ambitious project aims to fascinate and inspire audiences to enjoy the art, life and passions of one of Britain’s foremost artists, in the special setting of his childhood home. It seeks to upgrade and expand the Grade I listed Georgian townhouse, to ensure the museum is financially sustainable and no longer at risk. The project will refurbish and redisplay the historic buildings while constructing a new three-storey wing that will create the largest gallery in Suffolk. Visitors will be able to see Gainsborough’s masterpieces, exhibitions of international appeal, contemporary art created in East Anglia and a landscape studio with panoramic views over Sudbury. The new Watering Place café overlooking the beautiful 18th century garden will enhance the visitor experience, along with improved facilities, more spaces for learning, talks and concerts. Nowhere else in the world can such a wide collection of Gainsborough’s art and those he inspired be seen in a single setting. The project will maximise this great asset, transforming the museum’s ability to develop a secure future by drawing twice as many visitors, encouraging a three-fold increase in dwell time and generating more income.
The new galleries and the Watering Place café are almost built and the House and Print Workshop refurbished. The site is due to be handed back from the builders very soon and we can begin to furnish it to reach completion and opening in late autumn.
We are on the brink of becoming the national and international centre we have been working so hard to achieve. This is very exciting news for Gainsborough’s House, after years of planning and fundraising, the project is nearly complete. This development won’t just secure the future of Gainsborough’s House, but will also be the start of regeneration of an historic market town, the creation of a long needed centre for visual art in Suffolk and a national centre for Thomas Gainsborough. When we re-open we will have effectively doubled our staff and provided five apprenticeships, and be ready to deliver a nationally significant programme of exhibitions, events and displays. We will certainly have much more scope to host national and international exhibitions.
• Building began in Autumn 2019.
• We closed Gainsborough’s House to visitors on 27 October 2019.
• We opened our Information Centre on the project at No.47 Gainsborough Street (next to Gainsborough’s House) on 2 March 2020 and had to close it shortly afterwards due to the national lockdown, a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
• Building work continues and is due to be completed next year, followed by fit out and installation.
Gainsborough‘s House re-opened to the public 21 November 2022