Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 8°C

ESTD 1874 Search

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

The A1092 through Clare was closed following the accident.

A cyclist who died following a road traffic collision in Clare on Sunday has been named as Sean Hickey from Connaught Road, Haverhill.

Mike and Natalie Gee are upset and worried at having to pay £13,000 for the council to make modifications to their home in Ipswich. Natalie has recently become paraplegic after a spinal injury and is in a wheelchair.

“I just want to be a mummy again” – that is the message from an Ipswich woman who was told she would never walk again by doctors.

Ipswich Town Hall.

District councils in Suffolk and north Essex spent more than £20million on redundancy packages over a five-year period, with some departing staff receiving six-figure payouts, an investigation has found.

County Hall, Chelmsford.

An Essex education chief has warned the government to “think carefully” about plans to force all schools to become academies – as figures revealed County Hall could lose more than £1billion in land assets if the proposals go ahead.

Pupils and students, outside Bealings Primary School, whowere due to strike today.

Schoolchildren across Suffolk are “on strike” in protest at controversial tests for six and seven-year-olds.

The new Ipswich police headquarters from insurance company offices in Civic Drive in July 1968

In the summer of 1968 the Ipswich Police Station moved from under the Town Hall to a new building at the junction of Civic Drive and Elm Street. 
Last June work started to demolish this landmark building and the site is now being converted to a temporary surface car park.

The Middy in the war years event at Mid Suffolk Light Railway at Wetheringsett.

A large number of visitors attended a Suffolk heritage railway’s annual 1940s event during the Bank Holiday weekend.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24