Bury St Edmunds’ Manor House opens its doors with one-off gallery of England’s finest Georgian paintings

The finest of Georgian England is being celebrated in Bury tthis spring with a two week collaboratio

The finest of Georgian England is being celebrated in Bury tthis spring with a two week collaboration in aid of charitable causes that brings publically owned paintings to an important period home. Pictured on the steps of the Manor House are L-R: Alex McWhirter (heritage service), Sylvia Cox (heritage service), Sir David and Lady Rowlands with Mayor of St Edmundsbury Cllr Robert Everitt. - Credit: Archant

An 18th century manor house in the centre of Bury St Edmunds is opening its doors to host a gallery of Georgian paintings.

For many years, Manor House, on Honey Hill, served as museum, before closing in 2006 and returning to its original use as a private residence.

Now some of the finest Georgian paintings from St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s collection are being hung on its walls for a two-week charity exhibition.

Courtesy of the house owners, Sir David and Lady Diana Rowland, the spring exhibition will raise funds for medical research into childhood brain tumours as well as local charities the Acute Kidney Injury charity and Gatehouse.

The paintings of Bury families have been selected by George Carter, who for 25 years has hung exhibitions for the Royal Collection, in collaboration with the borough’s Heritage Service.

Mr Carter said: “This exhibition is designed to show how an early 18th century house might have been hung with portraits and landscapes in oils as part of the interior decoration of the period.

“The superb 1730s rooms of this house were not intended to have bare walls but to be enlivened by family portraits and landscapes.”

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The house was completed in 1738 and was the home of Elizabeth Hervey, second wife of John Hervey, the 1st Earl of Bristol, who lived at nearby Ickworth House.

Talking about the gallery, Lady Rowland said: “It is an example of the best in public/private co-operation and we hope as many people as possible will take the opportunity to come and enjoy the house and the pictures.”

The event will support two of Mayor Robert Everitt’s chosen charities and he was there for the launch. He said: “Viewing pictures of notable Bury families in this beautiful setting is not to be missed.

“While visitors enjoy the elegance of Manor House and the quality of the paintings, they are raising money for three worthwhile charities.

“This could not have happened without Sir David and Lady Rowland’s kind offer to open their home. I am most grateful for the goodwill that has made this project possible.”

The house will be open from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 4pm on April 12 and from April 16 to 19. It will open at the same times on April 26.

It will cost a £5 donation per person and booking opens on today at the www.theapex.co.uk or on 01284 758000.

Free children’s day are also being held and to book or find out more phone Helen Woodroffe on 01284 748720.