Break Out Culture With Ed Vaizey by Country and Town House

136. Gainsborough, Gillray & more - with Rebecca Salter and Tim Clayton

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Episode notes

This week we’re at Gainsborough House in Sudbury, Suffolk. We’re always delighted to discover a true gem away from London and this most certainly is one. Housed in the home where the great 18th century portrait and landscape painter artist Thomas Gainsborough grew up, this is now Suffolk’s largest art gallery and a global study centre for Gainsborough’s work. The house has recently opened its new wing with three new superb and spacious exhibition spaces. 

We’re talking to Rebecca Salter, the President of the Royal Academy (and the first ever woman to hold the role) about her exhibition of beautiful Japanese-inspired works on show there.   We’re also talking to Tim Clayton, the award-winning historian and broadcaster, who has curated a second exhibition on Gainsborough’s contemporary, James Gillray, ‘father of the political cartoon’. Tim is also Gillray’s biographer and has lots of fascinating insights into Gillray’s life and work.

The historic house itself is beautifully restored to give an insight into how Gainsborough lived.    There’s a beautiful garden, complete with ancient mulberry tree (given Sudbury is the home of silk), a print workshop, a café and a very good shop.  Plus, there’s a top floor studio to the new wing with panoramic views over the garden and Sudbury. With this meticulously curated collection of Gillray’s prints and Rebecca’s beautiful,  meditative, calming paintings on show, it’s truly worth a visit.

In View:  Rebecca Salter until 10th March

James Gillray: Characters in Charicature until  10th March