Appeals: Gainsborough's House (CORRECTED)

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The parlour at Gainsborough's House, the birthplace of the artist Thomas Gainsborough, in Sudbury, Suffolk. The house is now a museum and art gallery open to the public from Easter to November: it has more paintings, drawings and prints by Gainsborough on display than any other museum in the world. In the above photograph are two early portraits, side by side, of an unknown boy and girl. The two were once part of the same portrait - the girl's hand and skirt can be seen in the full-length portrait of the boy - but it is not known why the picture was cut up. To the right is a portrait of Mrs Nathaniel Acton, circa 1757.

In spite of the museum's popularity, it needs to raise about pounds 130,000, over and above its annual running costs of about pounds 120,000, as the first step towards creating a capital sum which will finance some of its core activities and future plans.

Gainsborough's House dates back to the 14th century; the artist's parents bought it five years before his birth, in 1727. The museum contains rooms furnished with Georgian furniture, including the artist's own painting cabinet. Notable paintings in the collection are A Wooded Landscape with Cattle by a Pool, an oil first exhibited in 1782, and a three-quarter length portrait of Harriet, Viscountess Tracy, painted around 1763 when the artist was living in Bath. The most recent acquisition is Peasants going to Market, a chalk and wash drawing on paper, dating from the early 1770s.

At the end of the garden, filled with lavender and roses and an old mulberry tree, the old coach house has been converted into the print workshop, with a photographic dark-room, presses and a full range of equipment for print-making. This facility is open to all artists with some knowledge of printing; courses on printing are regularly held.

The museum wants to expand its exhibition and educational programme, employ more staff, extend the library so that it keeps pace with developments in scholarship on the artist, and increase the number of conservation instruments. The museum's next exhibition, 'A Decade of Collecting', starts on Saturday 3 April, and will have 15 drawings by Gainsborough on view, as well as prints and works by his contemporaries.

For further information, contact: Gainsborough's House, 46 Gainsborough Street, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 6EU, telephone 0787 372958.


Gainsborough's House (Appeals, 20 March) is closed on Mondays, Good Friday and between Christmas and New Year; it is open throughout the rest of the year.

(Photograph omitted)