The Gainsborough’s House collection includes a large number of objects and artefacts relating to Thomas Gainsborough, including many of his possessions.
Most significantly, the artist’s mahogany studio cabinet, complete with its original slate slab for grinding colours and a large drawer to store sheets of paper, is on permanent display.
There is the only known sculpture attributed to Gainsborough – a plaster model of an old disheveled horse. It is though that this model was used by the artist as a studio prop, specifically for his imagined scenes of rustic labourers and agricultural peasants working the land.
Other personal effects include Gainsborough’s swordstick, mourning rings, snuffbox and paint scraper.
The museum holds many other objects used in eighteenth century artistic practice. Of particular note is a collection of paint bladders, used to store pigments, which were discovered in the attic of the house and may have belonged to Thomas Gainsborough.
Thomas Gainsborough (1727-88) was born in Sudbury and baptised at the Independent Meeting-House in Friars Street on 14 May 1727, the fifth son and ninth child of John and Mary Gainsborough. In 1958, Gainsborough’s House Society was formed to purchase the house and establish it as a centre for Thomas Gainsborough. The Museum opened to the public in 1961 and has remained open for over 50 years. The beautiful historic garden at the heart of Gainsborough’s House is maintained by a devoted body of volunteers, who garden exclusively with plants that were available in Gainsborough’s lifetime.
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