Thomas Gainsborough (1727-88) was born in Sudbury and was 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 on 12 April 1961 and has remained open ever since, operating as an independent charitable trust.
In 2019, the House commenced a transformational refurbishment with £10m invested into the site. For the first time in its history, the House closed its doors for 3 years to welcome this upgrade. The vision was to build upon the rich history of Gainsborough’s House while also making the museum experience more accessible, exciting for our visitors and to truly celebrate Gainsborough along with his followers and contemporaries. The museum aims to bring light to other Suffolk based artists like John Constable and Cedric Morris of whom greatly admired the works of Thomas Gainsborough.
Along with our impressive new gallery spaces, the museum has its own café on site as well as visitor gift shop. The Watering Place café is a quaint space overlooking the gardens at the House; you won’t need an admission to access this space. There are coffees, pastries and light lunches available with indoor and outdoor seating. The beautiful garden is at the heart of Gainsborough’s House. It is maintained by a devoted body of volunteers who exclusively cultivate plants that were available in Gainsborough’s lifetime; including a Mulberry Tree which is over 400 years old.
Whether you’re looking to immerse yourself into the arts and culture of Sudbury, to find out more about Suffolk’s most famous son or you’re just looking for an engaging day out for the family — Gainsborough’s House welcomes you.
Take a look at our stay package – Follow the trail of Munning’s, Gainsborough & Constable