The terrace at Sudley House. Photo National Museums Liverpool
Liverpool’s Sudley House is set to reopen after a two year, £1m refurbishment.
Home to the important art collection of ship owner George Holt, the 19th century mansion in Mossley Hill has undergone major conservation and renovation work and will open to the public on May 26 2007.
“Sudley is a unique attraction, displaying the domestic artistic tastes of a Victorian merchant,” said Robin Emmerson, National Museums Liverpool’s head of decorative arts.
“This extended from his art collection to the design of his home and how the rooms were ordered and fitted out.”
Sudley's drawing room with its portrait by Romney. Photo National Museums Liverpool
New features at the house include a display introducing the Holt family, two childhood rooms looking at how Victorian children learned and played which has a giant antique dolls house, a costume room with clothes from the 1880s to 1920s and a new temporary exhibition gallery.
The first new exhibition will be Merchant Palaces, a photographic display examining the luxurious mercantile mansions that graced Liverpool and the Wirral in the Victorian and Edwardian eras.
There will also be a new lift providing improved access and a café and Sudley House’s art collection has also been rehung.
The library at Sudley House features a painting by Millais. Photo National Museums Liverpool
It is the only art collection of a Victorian merchant still in its original domestic setting and includes works by Gainsborough, Turner, Reynolds, Romney, Landseer, Millais and Holman Hunt.
Holt was also particularly interested in the works of John Strudwick, and ordered pictures from him, which can be seen in the garden hall, the house’s original entrance.
Sudley was built in 1821 by corn merchant Nicholas Robinson and subsequently bought, extended and redecorated by George Holt, founder of the Lamport & Holt shipping line, in 1884.
Holt’s daughter Emma gave the house and its contents to the people of Liverpool when she died in 1944.