Museum is a special place, says new boss

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Mark Bills, the newly-appointed leader of Sudbury’s heritage museum Gainsborough’s House, says he is looking forward to taking up the top job.

The art historian and gallery director is to join the heritage museum – the boyhood home of Thomas Gainsborough – as executive director in March.

He described his new appointment as a privilege and said he was looking forward to bringing to life the work and art of Thomas Gainsborough, the 18th-century artist, and the largest collection of his work on display at the Gainsborough Street museum.

“It will be a privilege to lead the gallery into the next phase of its history,” he said. “I am very much looking forward to joining. It is a special place with a wonderful collection of work by one of the greatest figures in British art.”

Brian Moody, chairman of the board of governors at the museum, added: “We are very fortunate to be appointing such an experienced museum professional.

“He comes to Gainsborough’s House with first-hand experience of bringing the story of an artist to life in the house in which he lived, an objective we have set ourselves.

“He also has an impressive track record in scholarship, publications and creating exhibitions.”

For the last six years, Mr Bills has been curator of Watts Gallery in Compton, Surrey. Before that, he held curatorial positions at the Museum of London and Russell-Cotes Museum, Bournemouth.

He started his career as an art student at the Slade School of Art and his first position was as a curator was at Brodsworth Hall in Yorkshire.

He said: “This vast and eccentric mansion allowed me the great pleasure of researching a number of paintings from the Romantic movement in English art.

“From Brodsworth, after beginning research at Manchester University in art history, I moved to the south coast as visual arts officer at the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum in Bournemouth.”