Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 13°C

ESTD 1874 Search

WIN A NEW HYUNDAI i10 - See the EADT on June 8 for full details

Gallery: Have you seen Gainsborough’s bladders? Artist’s painting tools rediscovered after centuries in attic

15:26 18 February 2014

The discovery of several paint bladders at Gainsborough House in Sudbury.

The discovery of several paint bladders at Gainsborough House in Sudbury.

Archant

They spent hundreds of years lost in the attic; unnoticed, unloved and unused.

shares

And despite being rediscovered in the 1960s very little is known about them – you might not know what they are at all.

These unassuming pouches go by the name of paint bladders and might well have belonged to Sudbury-born artist Thomas Gainsborough.

They were found undisturbed at his former house in Sudbury in the mid-1960s during a clear-out, not long after the house was opened to the public as a museum.

But at the time nothing was done with them and it is only now staff at Gainsborough’s House can investigate them further.

Executive director Mark Bills is planning to feature the paint bladders in an exhibition, but only after they have been examined by specialists.

“We’ve commissioned the Hamilton Kerr Institute at Cambridge University,” said Mr Bills. “They have lots of experience in this area.

“The paints will undergo a scientific test to date them and to see if it’s plausible that they’re Gainsborough’s.

“They have been in the house and now we’ve got some funding to actually do some research into them and see if they belong to Gainsborough.

“We do know they’re mid-18th Century and French.”

Nineteen pouches were found in the attic and Mr Bills said it is quite rare to find so many together.

And while being discovered at Gainsborough’s home gives a good clue to their ownership more research is need to see if it is plausible that they are his.

“It is possible they were a present to someone in the family but to buy paints at that time wasn’t cheap, they would have been a good present,” Mr Bills added.

“There are secrets yet to be revealed.”

Once the tests have been completed and the paints returned to Sudbury they will become part of an exhibition next year.

There will also be a conference about the practices of Gainsborough and other artists in the 18th Century.

And even if it turns out the paint bladders did not belong to Gainsborough they will still be a valued addition to the museum’s collection.

“To have 19 surviving is a very rare thing,” Mr Bills said. “They are really important.”

shares

0 comments

Charles Kennedy (left) talks with  Andy Thwaites during the visit to Treetops in Colchester in 2005. PIC RICHARD SNASDELL

Former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy has died suddenly at home at the age of 55, his family have said.

Cheryl and Richard Andrews who have re-opened the The Crown in Great Glemham

First it was open, then it was closed, then it reopened...and closed again a year later.

The former Fisons headquarters is getting a new look in major rebuild project and will be known as Connexions159, at Princes Street, Ipswich

Work on a £9million office redevelopment of the former Fisons headquarters building has begun and is due for completion in February 2016.

The Alfred Munnings paintings, which are expected to fetch thousands of pounds at auction.

A painting by one of Suffolk’s most celebrated artists is set to bring in up to £250,000 at auction this month.

Around 20 homes had to be evacuated in Reydon earlier today after a fire threatened to ignite gas bottles.

The Alpha Craft holiday boat jammed under the railway bridge near the Rushcutters pub on Yarmouth Road. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Train passengers faced delays today after a boat became jammed under a railway bridge over the River Yare in Thorpe St Andrew, but lines have now reopened.

People enjoy a blustery but sunny day in Felixstowe.

Get your suncream ready because a burst of sunshine is set to hit the region from Thursday.

The Willis building bathed in red light to mark the 40th anniversary celebrations

The iconic Willis building in Ipswich town centre was bathed in red light on Friday evening, to celebrate the company’s 40th anniversary.

Police are issuing an E-fit of an individual they would like to trace, after a robbery in Ipswich.
The incident happened in Burlington Road at approximately 2.45pm on Saturday 30 May.

Police have issued an efit of a man they would like to trace after a robbery in Ipswich.

Man downloaded images onto computer

A 59-year-old west Suffolk man who claimed the trauma of jury duty had led to him downloading nearly 7,000 of indecent images of children has been jailed.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages