Old Master Minute

Gainsborough’s House reopens after £10m refurbishment

By Sotheby's

Having been closed for lengthy renovations and extensions, Gainsborough’s House Museum reopened on 21st November 2022. The museum is situated in the handsome red-brick house in Sudbury, Suffolk, that Thomas Gainsborough grew up in in the early 18th century.

Gainsborough (along with his rival Sir Joshua Reynolds) is known today as the preeminent portraitist of the later 18th century in Britain. He started his career as a student of Hogarth’s in London before moving back to Suffolk to commence his practice as a portrait painter. His early works from the 1750s are characterised as much by their delicate Rococo poise as their slight provincial awkwardness – a far cry from the dazzle of his broadly painted later work of the Bath and London periods.

Gainsborough’s House holds paintings from throughout the artist’s career and contains exhibits on other later Suffolk painters such as John Constable; Dedham Vale is only a short distance away.

As a hugely prolific artist, a large proportion of Gainsborough’s oeuvre is still in private hands; loans from these collections abound in Gainsborough’s House. Another benefit of this is that there is no shortage of new works coming to market, Sotheby’s having sold A wooded landscape in Suffolk for £189,000 in the June 2022 Jubilee sale.

Old Master Minute