The project to create a new national centre for Thomas Gainsborough in Sudbury moved closer to fruition, after two art events raised more than £100,000.
The Contemporary and Post-War British Art Auction drew hundreds of people to Sudbury Town Hall on Friday, who bid for 130 lots donated by acclaimed artists from across the UK.
Gainsborough’s House also threw open its doors for a full week, welcoming upwards of 700 visitors and raising another £3,500 from sales at an autumn art fair.
The events were part of a major fundraising push to secure the long-term future of Gainsborough’s House and its collections, by renovating the existing building and introducing a new three-storey structure containing four new galleries.
Mark Bills, director of Gainsborough’s House, said: “This was a terrific result and the level of support shown by artists from across the country to support our vision for a national centre has been quite overwhelming.
“Every bid made at the auction, and every work bought at the Fair, took us another step closer to delivering our transformation of Gainsborough’s House.
“We are extremely grateful to all those individuals and businesses who have supported us.
“With the results of this auction we have now secured £6.5 million towards our £7.7 million project.
“We have just less than six months to find the remaining £1.2 million and artists have really made a really positive step forward in closing this funding gap.”
Among the artists who contributed to the art auction were another Sudbury-born artist, Maggi Hambling, plus Edward Bawden, Simon Chambers, Christopher Le Brun, Antony Gormley, Patrick George, Sarah Lucas, John Hoyland, David Inshaw, Julian Opie and William Pye.
About 150 online bidders joined the 200 attendees present on the night.