Gainsborough's House, the museum and gallery at the birthplace of Thomas Gainsborough
What you will see and how to plan your visit.
A Visit to Gainsborough's House
Why come to Gainsborough's House?
Thomas Gainsborough is one of the greatest painters in the history of British art. Gainsborough's House is unique in being the only artist's birthplace museum in Britain. Gainsborough's art encompasses both landscape and portraiture, with fine examples on display at Gainsborough's House. The House itself is of interest and allows pupils to imagine what life would have been like in the 1700s. Pupils can also spend time in the garden, where Thomas and his brothers and sisters would have played as children; there is even a mulberry tree, which is over 400 years old.
What is there to see?
The collection is displayed in a chronological order with information about Gainsborough's family, life and career. Furniture from the eighteenth century is displayed in the house and includes the studio cabinet used by Thomas Gainsborough. As the first important British artist ever to paint landscapes, they are a wonderful starting point for discussion. The portraits in the collection are engaging and capture not only the likeness but also the personality of his sitters.
What is there to do?
A tour of Gainsborough's House will give pupils an opportunity to find out about Gainsborough as a person, learn about his family and childhood home and discuss the paintings in the collection. Tours can focus on portraits, landscapes or both. Children will be encouraged to share their own feelings and ideas and the paintings are a fantastic stimulus for art, history and literacy study.
To extend your visit and build upon learning in the gallery, your class can take part in one of our additional activity sessions. Options include a model landscape building and drawing activity, based on Gainsborough's practice of creating miniature landscapes in his studio with twigs and stones and a portrait and costume based activity, giving pupils the opportunity to dress in replica eighteenth-century costume and write letters to Thomas Gainsborough to commission their own portrait.
Planning your visit:
Booking a visit to Gainsborough's House is quick and easy. It is important to book in advance as we can only accommodate one school visit at a time. If you wish to arrange a visit contact 01787 372958 or email email@example.com . In order to help your booking run smoothly it is useful to have a date in mind and to have considered the following; what age range are your pupils? Which activity would you like? How many pupils will be attending? How long would you like your visit to last?
The museum is open between 10am and 5pm. A tour of the house usually lasts 1 hour and most workshops last 2 hours. However, the content and length of both can be adjusted to suit your needs. Once you have made a preliminary booking you will be sent an official booking form to confirm the details of your visit. Guidance on hazard identification is available upon request and teachers wishing to make a pre-visit to the House may do so free of charge. Unfortunately there is no car park at Gainsborough's House. Coaches may stop in Gainsborough Street to drop off and collect groups. There is a long stay car park near the railway station, approximately 10 minutes walk from Gainsborough's House.
Making the most of your visit:
In order to get the most out of a visit to Gainsborough's House you could build your visit into a scheme of work.
- Start by preparing the class before your visit. Spend an art lesson looking at Gainsborough's paintings and discussing the content, style, colours, textures and effects. Ask the children to share their opinions and thoughts or use one of the activities suggested in this pack. Talk to your pupils about the eighteenth century; compare the similarities and differences with their modern lives.
- During their visit pupils will learn about Thomas Gainsborough, his early life, education and career and will use the house and examples of his paintings to put this information into context. If you choose to include a look at portraits, children will be able to try on replica costumes and experience life as a Georgian. Looking at the landscapes in the collection will help pupils to understand what life was like for poor rural families and how the countryside has changed.
- An activity session at Gainsborough's House will provide work for the children to take back to school. Artwork or drawings produced could be displayed in a 'gallery' or display.
- Following your visit with classroom activities relating to Gainsborough, his work or the eighteenth century, will help to consolidate the children's experience and provide an opportunity to evaluate what they learned on their museum visit. This teachers' pack contains some suggested activities, which will encourage children to explore the period in more detail, use their imagination and be creative or to learn how to appreciate and evaluate art. The activities cover a range of curriculum subjects, including art and design, design technology, history, drama and literacy and can be adapted in any way you choose.