Thomas Sinden has been appointed as Principal Contractor to create a national centre for Thomas Gainsborough (1727-88), one of Britain’s foremost artists in the setting of his childhood home at Gainsborough’s House, Sudbury, Suffolk.
Gainsborough’s House, has been a registered charity and museum for more than 50 years. The Grade I listed Georgian townhouse has the largest collection of Gainsborough’s art in existence, but it cannot display some of Gainsborough’s finest full-length paintings due to its confined space. There is also limited exhibition, learning and visitor facilities.
The £9 million plus project, which has been funded by around £5.2 million from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and the rest being matched from the support of generous individuals and organisations, will see the renovation and redisplay of the historic house and the construction of a new landmark, three storey building on the site of the former local authority building, adjacent to the house.
The project will create the largest gallery in Suffolk, providing spaces for exhibitions, displays and learning with four new galleries – a showcase Gainsborough gallery, a temporary exhibition gallery for exhibitions of national and international importance, a community gallery and a landscape studio with panoramic views over Sudbury.
A new orangery-style café will also be built overlooking the beautiful eighteenth century garden, which will enhance the visitor experience and boost venue hire, along with improved shopping facilities and a varied programme of talks and concerts.
Mark Bills, Director of Gainsborough’s House said: “Gainsborough’s House is delighted to be working with Thomas Sinden on its transformational project to create a National Centre for Gainsborough. The creation of a new purpose built three-storey art gallery and the restoration of the artist’s childhood home will draw visitors from around the world. We are delighted that work is starting with a company that has such a distinguished track record.”
Graeme Sinden, Director of Thomas Sinden comments, “We are extremely honoured to be working on such a prestigious and important project. We have extensive experience working on heritage projects such as St Albans Cathedral and Toynbee Hall and look forward to working closely with the team at Gainsborough’s House to deliver a vibrant, innovative national centre which will inspire visitors for generations to come.”
The project will also ensure that Gainsborough’s House is preserved, shared and celebrated for the next 100 years and will be a catalyst for the regeneration of the market town of Sudbury, attracting significant levels of tourism and engendering a greater pride of place.