Thursday, 13 March 2014

Gainsborough's House in Sudbury

A visit to Gainsborough's House last Saturday was filled with unexpected pleasures. The house itself looks fairly average for a house in the old part of Sudbury, but once inside, it has depth and height not anticipated initially. The first paintings on show are an exhibition of work by Richard Wilson (1713-1782) and Masterworks from the Ford Collection, of particular interest to me were the watercolours of Moorish Spain and the Middle East by John Frederick Lewis (1805-1876).
From there onto the magnificent Gainsborough portraits  painted wherever he found patronage and critical success, this included moves to London, Bath and Ipswich although he never lost the influence of his native town Sudbury. Although known for his portraits, Gainsborough also produced many other rural scenes reminiscent of Edward Palmer's work.
Photographs were not allowed, but here's a copy of the latest handout with Mrs Mary Cobbold with her Daughter Anne:

From the house, we wandered round the garden where there was a violet nodding in the wind, its colour still obvious:
And a very old Mulberry tree:
 And below the back of the house showing a rounded wall:
Lastly the bookshop held some delights, notably a book on a recent exhibition entitled 'Diana and Actaeon' featuring Gainsborough's painting of the scene depicting Diana bathing with her nymphs while being watched by Actaeon about to be turned into a stag which is subsequently hunted and torn apart by his hounds. Here's the front of the catalogue:
Also I leafed through a 'must have' copy of a book entitled 'Edward Bawden and his Circle'

 It's available elsewhere, and enjoyed by 'Dove Grey Reader Scribbles', who also likes Ravilious and Bawden, writes:
'In fact to be very honest I had really ordered a copy of Edward Bawden and His Circle by Malcolm Yorke for the pictures. I have a growing collection of Eric Ravilious-related books but nothing on Edward Bawden, and that was a balance to be redressed given their close friendship and artistic collaboration. At 271 pages the book is certainly hefty and is generous with illustrations, but it is also blessed with a genuinely interesting biography of Edward Bawden's life.'

More on the museum
And here's the town hall in Sudbury looking quite showy:

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