New milestone for Gainsborough’s House gallery project as formal plan submitted

An artist's impression of the new gallery

An artist's impression of the new gallery - Credit: Archant

Plans to create a new gallery dedicated to the works of Suffolk artist Thomas Gainsborough reached a new milestone after a formal planning application was lodged.

Left to right: Angus Goodwin ZMMA, Mark Bills MD of Gainsborough's House and Adam Zombory Moldovan o

Left to right: Angus Goodwin ZMMA, Mark Bills MD of Gainsborough's House and Adam Zombory Moldovan of ZMMA. Picture: ANNE PURKISS - Credit: Archant

If approved, the multi-million project will see the existing Labour Exchange building in the grounds of Gainsborough’s House, Sudbury, demolished and replaced with a three-story gallery that will house a permanent collection of the artist’s work.

The application comes less than a month after Babergh District Council gifted the £253,000 site next to the museum, known as Gainsborough’s Chambers, to the scheme.

As well as the new building, Mark Bills, Gainsborough’s House director, is asking for permission to build a new café extension to the garden side of the house and a new glazed canopy in the courtyard garden.

The new gallery will have a landscape studio on the top floor, facing southward toward landscape views beyond the rooftops of Sudbury so that visitors can see the very vistas that appear in the artist’s works.


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There will also be a camera obscura, which will allow visitors a unique view of the surrounding countryside.

The building will be constructed using locally made brick, flint and silk woven in Sudbury.

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Gainsborough House is the historic birthplace of the artist and houses the most comprehensive collection of his work in any single setting in the world.

The project has attracted nationwide interest and secured just over £8million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and a private donor for the project.

The Gainsborough House Society was formed in 1958, to purchase the land and create the public museum that opened in 1961.

The new gallery could provide 60 temporary full time jobs, as well as nine permanent positions.

Mr Bills said: “We are thrilled with the designs for the new building. ‘Reviving an Artist’s Birthplace’ is an ambitious project that aims to fascinate and inspire audiences to enjoy the art, life and passions of one of Britain’s foremost artists, in the special setting of his childhood home.

“The project aims to put Gainsborough’s House on the international art museum map.”

A decision on the plan is expected on Monday, April 16.

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