Gainsborough’s House with the National Portrait Gallery
Based at Gainsborough’s House, Sudbury


Established in 1856, the National Portrait Gallery is home to the largest collection of portraits in the world and celebrates the lives and achievements of those who have influenced British history, culture and identity.

We have initiated a major renewal project called Inspiring People, designed to transform the way we present, interpret and share our Collection. The project involves collaboration and skills sharing with our partners from across the UK as part of our transformation, to explore questions around identity and meaning to audiences today.

We are looking for an enthusiastic intern with an interest in portraits, history and people to help our partners as part of their programme with the National Portrait Gallery. This is a varied role that will help you gain an understanding of the sector and provide a greater insight into the fascinating National Collection. You will be based at Gainsborough’s House, but will have the opportunity to connect up to the National Portrait Gallery and be part of the wider network of interns at all partner venues.

Further information about the National Portrait Gallery and the Inspiring People project can be found on our website


Gainsborough’s House is a national centre for the art of Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788) at his childhood home in Sudbury, Suffolk. It is an independent museum that opened to the public in 1961 and looks after one of the largest collections of art by Thomas Gainsborough in the world, alongside related eighteenth-century art and artefacts. The collection also includes work by artists with a strong connection to the local area, most notably John Constable (1776-1837) and Sir Cedric Morris (1889-1982).

The mission of Gainsborough’s House is to promote the wider knowledge, appreciation and enjoyment of the art of Thomas Gainsborough and the wider artistic footprint of the local area.

It is currently undergoing a major redevelopment project, which is more than doubling exhibition and learning spaces, as well as creating a new cafe and shop. The house closed for redevelopment in autumn 2019 and will reopen in spring 2022. The Curatorial Intern will therefore be at the centre of delivering this once-in-a-lifetime project in its final months.

This role will suit you if you:

  • are thinking about a possible career in the sector or are at the beginning of your career
  • are excited about learning more about the sector, portraiture and collections
  • have an interest in how museums and galleries operate


Job title: Curatorial Intern
Organisation: Gainsborough’s House in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery
Location: Gainsborough’s House, Sudbury, Suffolk
Reporting to: Keeper of Art and Place
Contract type: 6 months fixed-term contract, November 2021 – May 2022
Hours: 35 hours per week
Salary: £18,000 per annum (pro rata) plus help with travel or accommodation expenses

To assist the Keeper of Art and Place at a pivotal and exciting time in the history of Gainsborough’s House. You will be key to ensuring that the collection is safely re-housed and properly documented following its return from offsite storage and assist with all aspects of the new permanent displays and temporary exhibitions.


Collections management

  • Assist with the move of the collection back from offsite storage
  • Update and improve object records on the collections management database

Exhibitions & displays

  • Assist with all aspects of exhibition and display administration (upcoming exhibitions include: Gainsborough; Ignatius Sancho)
  • Assist with the installation of exhibitions and displays
  • Write and proofread display text


  • Carry out exhibition and collections-based research


Knowledge, Skills and Experience

Proven interest in the art of Thomas Gainsborough and the eighteenth century

Strong organisation and planning skills
Good attention to detail
Ability to work under pressure
Good IT skills including Microsoft 365
Excellent written and verbal communication skills
Experience of working effectively as part of a team


  • Practical art installation and object handling
  • Collections management using the database MuseumPlus
  • Exhibition and collections-based research skills


  • Mentoring and training by the Keeper of Art and Place
  • Collaborative working with a small, friendly team An exciting work environment in the lead up to reopening
  • Opportunities to connect with the National Portrait Gallery


Please send your C.V. and a cover letter to explaining why you’re applying for the internship and how you meet the criteria of the person specification, detailing any relevant skills, knowledge and experience.

Closing date: 9am, Monday 18 October
Interview date: Wednesday 27 October 2021

For further information or questions please contact:

Instagram: @gainsboroughshouse

Gainsborough’s House is committed to providing equality of opportunity for all staff and welcomes applications from all individuals for advertised jobs that match their skills and interests. We welcome applications from all sections of the community. We particularly encourage applications from Black, Asian and minority ethnic candidates, and from disabled candidates, as these groups are underrepresented within the Arts fields and at Gainsborough’s House.