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Fri, 13 May

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The Quay Theatre

Gainsborough and The Modern Woman @ The Quay Theatre

A New Play by Peppy Barlow & Sally Wilden - presented by Woven Theatre previews at The Quay Theatre, Sudbury. Gainsborough's Birthplace. In 1760, Gainsborough painted a portrait of Ann Ford, which took his world by storm.

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Gainsborough and The Modern Woman @ The Quay Theatre
Gainsborough and The Modern Woman @ The Quay Theatre

Time & Location

13 May 2022, 19:30 – 21:30

The Quay Theatre, Quay House, 6 Quay Ln, Sudbury CO10 2AN, UK

About the Event

Gainsborough and the Modern Woman BUY TICKETS - quaysudbury.com Tickets: £13 / £10 concession

In 1760, not long after Gainsborough had moved his family to Bath, he painted a portrait of an extraordinary young woman, Ann Ford, as a way of advertising his trade.

Ann was a talented musician. She was twice arrested by her father to prevent her performing in public but went on to earn £1500 (about £299,000 in today’s money) and made herself an independent woman.

The play is about the making of this painting and the relationship between painter and subject. There are all kinds of local connections – notably with Gainsborough’s birthplace in Sudbury where his family worked in cloth. For this production, two of Sudbury’s present day silk weavers, Stephen Walters and Richard Humphries, are providing the silk for the dress and having it specially woven to match the design in the portrait. This will coincide with Steven Walters 300th anniversary!

When displayed the portrait took Gainsborough’s world by storm. Prepared to break the rules about how a woman should be portrayed, it was a cause of outrage but put a seal on Gainsborough’s growing reputation.

The painting was kept by Ann Ford Thicknesse until her death in 1824 and kept in her family until it was sold at auction. It is now displayed at the Cincinnati Museum of Art who have kindly given permission to use the image.

This production is supported by the Arts Council, Suffolk County Council and Sudbury Town Council. We are also working in partnership with the Pimlott Foundation and the Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service at Christchcurch Mansion Ipswich. The silk for the dress is being provided by Richard Mathews and Steven Walters, silk weavers of Sudbury.

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