First look inside impressive new centre in Sudbury to tease £9.5m plans
PUBLISHED: 18:00 09 March 2020 | UPDATED: 18:29 09 March 2020
Work is under way on a £9.5million revamp of a popular Suffolk tourist attraction – and now a new centre has opened which reveals what people can expect.
Gainsborough's House in Sudbury shut for the first time in 61 years last October as a renovation costing £9.5million gets underway.
However, No. 47 on Gainsborough Street is now open as an information centre with staff on hand to answer queries about the redevelopment - as well as graphic wall displays, a timeline of the history of the house and a display of artefacts, alongside gifts and books.
The displays at No. 47 will begin with an in-depth look at the life of Cedric Lockwood Morris who died in 1982, an important figure in the story of East Anglian artists and a key figure in the future redeveloped Gainsborough's House.
The museum houses the largest single collection of Morris' artwork and as well as material relating to the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing, which Morris founded with his partner Arthur Lett-Haines in 1937.
In 1961, Gainsborough's House opened by way of honouring the famous Sudbury painter Thomas Gainsborough, considered one of the most important British artists of the second half of the 18th century.
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The Grade I listed Georgian townhouse will be upgraded while construction of a new three-storey wing creating the largest gallery in Suffolk is carried out.
After years in the pipeline, work has begun in earnest and the contractors are creating purpose built galleries to be elegantly faced with local handmade bricks.
A new museum café will also be built overlooking the 18th century garden with its 400-year-old mulberry tree, which was alive when Gainsborough was a child.
Director of Gainsborough's House, Mark Bills, said 'I'm so pleased we can continue to engage with our visitors and supporters during closure.
'This can be a challenging time for a project and we are delighted that we are able to maintain a public face and keep everyone up to date with the progress of our project, which is so important to the town of Sudbury and to the region as a whole.
'We do hope that people will drop in and see us and continue to support Gainsborough's House.'