On the 27 October 2019 Gainsborough’s House closed to the public for major redevelopment, largely supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Following the completion of a new three-storey extension and the refurbishment of the old house, we hope to re-open again in summer 2021 with several new galleries, education spaces and a café.
Closure has allowed us the rare opportunity of lending the highlights of our collection en masse. A couple of weeks after closing, sixty-three paintings, prints, drawings and artefacts were carefully crated and sent to the The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow. We are the main partners of their exhibition ‘Томас Гейнсборо(1727–1788)’, the first Gainsborough exhibition in Russia. Several other UK museums have contributed, such as the National Gallery, Tate, the Royal Academy, the Holburne Museum and Dulwich Picture Gallery. It is a beautiful exhibition, which is complimented by the December Nights concert series taking place in the main gallery. The Pushkin’s winter exhibition is usually their most popular and ‘Томас Гейнсборо’ is proving no exception. Visitors are already queuing up in the cold and snow to see it.
It is an absolute joy to see our paintings on the Pushkin’s elegant walls and has given us a foretaste of how they might better be appreciated in a new purpose-built gallery, with higher ceilings and improved lighting. Adjacent to a permanent Gainsborough gallery in our new extension, will be a larger temporary exhibition gallery. Excitingly, one of the first exhibitions to be held there will be a reciprocal loan show from the Pushkin. They have an extraordinary collection, mostly comprised of European art, which we cannot wait to show a glimpse of in Sudbury.
By Emma Boyd