Case Study: Glorious Gainsborough

22 November 2019

Our work often brings us into contact with the works of some of the ‘greats’ of art history. In June 2019 we handled masterpieces by the great British painter Thomas Gainsborough (1727–1788). The exhibition, Masters of the Golden Age: Gainsborough, Constable, Turner and Lawrence, was opened at Gainsborough’s House in Suffolk in the east of England. Gainsborough grew up in this house and it has now become a museum, and we were thrilled to assist the institution in one of its most ambitious exhibitions to date.

Major paintings from the Golden Age of British painting were to be loaned for the show, most for the first time ever. Although some of the collection was London based, the majority of works were based in Jersey, a 5-hour ferry journey from the south coast of the U.K.

We sent a team to Jersey to undertake de-installation of the nine works, and crated them in bespoke fine art crates that we ensured were suitable for the journey between the island, just off the coast of France, and their destination in the east of England.

Our team carried out the sea- and road-transportation of artworks to Gainsborough’s House in several stages. The Jersey collection was brought to one of our London fine art facilities for a short time for storage while we brought in the works from other locations. Once altogether, the collection of loaned works was transported in a single consolidated load to Suffolk. Once on-site at the museum we installed the works under the eye of the museum’s curators. For smaller institutions that do not have their own technical teams, this is the best option; trained and fully insured art technicians can conduct the hanging quickly and efficiently with low risk of error or damage.

Once the exhibition closed in late 2019, we handled the return and re-installation of the works to Jersey, to the complete satisfaction of the lender.

Gainsborough’s House is in the early stages of a major redevelopment that will see the extended site turned into a new national center for the celebration of Gainsborough’s work and British art. Three exhibition galleries will be created, and a viewing floor and event space will also be added. In the future larger and more frequent exhibitions will be held, containing works ranging from the masters of the Golden Age to leading contemporary artists, meaning that fine art shippers will be working even more closely with this particular institution.

It was our pleasure to work with Gainsborough’s House to facilitate the delivery and return of loans for this exhibition, a great show of an important period in British art history.

All images courtesy of Gainsborough’s House Society

Gainsborough's House IMAGE 2 CS6 - Constable - Salisbury Cathedral

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