Gainsborough's House in Sudbury is set to reopen after a three-year £10million revamp.

The project, which began in 2019, doubled the size of the museum based in Thomas Gainsborough's childhood home, turning the centre into Suffolk's largest art gallery.

It will open its doors to the public from next Monday (November 21).

East Anglian Daily Times:

Funded by a £5.2million grant from the National Lottery and private funding, the project renovated the Grade I listed building – both outside and in – as well as a new three-story building constructed of locally-made bricks and flint.

The new building houses a new entrance, four galleries, as well as a studio space for interactive events.

As part of the scheme, nearby cottages on Weavers Lane were also reorganised, opening up access to the largest historical print workshop in the county. Museum bosses say they hope this will offer "traditional skills to a new generation" and will allow printmakers to sell their work in seasonal exhibitions in the Sudbury Gallery.

A new glass-faced cafe overlooking the walled garden was also built.

East Anglian Daily Times:

Currently, inside the centre, visitors will be able to enjoy a collection of the best work from Sudbury's most famous son from the centre's own collection as well as from the Tate Britain and the National Portrait Gallery, as well as exhibitions on his early life, love of music and a recreation of what his workspace may have looked like.

Elsewhere in the centre, there is a significant collection of works by Cedric Morris (1889-1982) which was gifted to Gainsborough's House by Maggi Hambling and Robert Davey in 2017 and a selection of landscapes by John Constable (1776-1837).

At an event on Wednesday to mark the opening, a Sudbury silk sash specially made by specialist silk weavers Humphries Weaving was installed on the statue of the 18th painter in Market Hill – commemorating the town's heritage as an important centre of the silk trade and his father's work as a weaver.

East Anglian Daily Times:

Mark Bills, director of Gainsborough's House, said: "The physical transformation of Gainsborough's House will fundamentally change this historic site, enabling it to become an international centre for Thomas Gainsborough and a cultural hub in the heart of East Anglia, all within the unique environment of the artist's birthplace and home.

"We are extremely grateful to the National Lottery players, trusts, foundations, and individuals who have generously supported this ambitious transformation continues to be a relevant force in art history and an inspiration for generations to come."

Eilish McGuinness, chief executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: "I am delighted that we have been able to support the reimagining of Gainsborough's childhood home, with a significant investment of £5million, to tell the full story of one of our most important British artists.

East Anglian Daily Times:

"The sensitive architectural additions in local materials add to the original house, which has been delicately and beautifully restored, providing the perfect backdrop for works by Gainsborough, his contemporaries and those he influenced from across generations.

"The setting with views across the Suffolk landscape will also provide a magical place for visitors to enjoy in the very landscape Gainsborough painted and grew up in, providing a special destination in this beautiful part of the country."

East Anglian Daily Times:

Adam Zombory-Moldovan, project director at ZMMA, the architects' firm which led the revamp, said: "The powerful connection between the landscape surrounding Sudbury and its representation in Gainsborough's work inspired us to create a new gallery building whose clay and flint materials are brought directly from Gainsborough's Suffolk landscape.

"From the expanded museum campus visitors will enjoy long views of that countryside behind the town's rooftops. 

"Sudbury's silk-weaving led us to make brickwork facades that appear woven, and to silk line a new gallery for Gainsborough's grandest canvasses.

"Gainsborough's home has been reimagined and enriched to make a complementary and modern setting for the museum's displays."

Who was Thomas Gainsborough?

Thomas Gainsborough, a weaver's son, was born in Sudbury in 1727.

He trained in London before setting up in practice in Ipswich in about 1752.

East Anglian Daily Times:

In 1759 he moved to Bath, then a fashionable spa town, and attracted many clients for his portraits.

He settled in London in 1774. Among his portraits were King George III and Queen Charlotte.

He was said to be a favourite painter of George III and the royal family.