The legacy of Sudbury’s ‘most famous son’ was honoured once again at the weekend, for the annual celebration of his birth in the early 18th century.
Almost 200 visitors joined in a garlanding Gainsborough celebration on Saturday, marking 390 years since the renowned painter and printmaker Thomas Gainsborough was born in May 1727.
A ceremony took place on Market Hill, where a garland of flowers was placed around the statue of Gainsborough, followed by speeches from deputy mayor Sue Ayres and Gainsborough’s House director Mark Bills.
A Scottish piper then led a procession of volunteers in 18th century costume down to Gainsborough’s House, the museum and gallery that was once the famed artist’s childhood home.
Arabella McKessar, development officer at Gainsborough’s House, said: “This is an important day in the annual calendar for Gainsborough’s House and the town, which celebrates Sudbury’s pride in its famous son Thomas Gainsborough, a Sudbury boy who never forgot his roots.
“Garlanding Gainsborough is about creating a sense of local pride of place in one of the founding fathers of the British School of Landscape Painting, a genius of national and international renown.”
Visitors received free guided tours of the museum, while there were craft activities for children, the opportunity to dress up in attire from Gainsborough’s era and a chance to make a landscape collage inspired by his work.
The event was part of the juseum’s continuing work to help educate younger generations about the artist.
So far this year, the museum has organised family activities, school visits and outreach initiatives, as well as a co-curation project with Thomas Gainsborough School.
Gainsborough’s House will soon be playing host to a new guest exhibition, Silk: From Spitalfields to Sudbury, which will explore the local and national history of silk from the 1700s right up to the present day.
Beginning on June 17, the exhibition will draw together artwork and textiles from collections around the UK, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, Norfolk Museums Service and the Warner Textile Archive.