Sudley House to Reopen – £1 million refurbishment and new attractions
Sudley House, home of the magnificent art collection of ship owner George Holt, reopens on 26 May 2007 following a two-year £1 million refurbishment including many new attractions.
The listed sandstone mansion set in its own grounds at Mossley Hill, southLiverpool , has undergone major conservation and renovation work including improved access and a lift. It houses the only art collection of a Victorian merchant still in its original domestic setting.
The new attractions include:
* Introductory display: the Holt family – George and Elizabeth Holt and daughter Emma from1884 to1944. Set in the ground floor library, the display includes an introductory film, family portraits and a model of the Lamport & Holt steamer Verdi.
* Two childhood rooms: how Victorian children learned and played. Exhibits include a huge Victorian dolls’ house, educational toys, fashion dolls and pots used at mealtimes by rich and poor children.
* Costume room: clothes worn by three daughters of Walter Holland, George Holt’s neighbour and business partner who lived at nearby Carnatic Hall. The clothes date from the 1880s to the 1920s and were bought in Bold Street , Liverpool, and Paris .
* Temporary exhibition gallery: Merchant Palaces – a fascinating photographic display, running until early 2008, looks at luxurious merchants’ mansions that graced the fashionable suburbs of Liverpool and Wirral during the Victorian and Edwardian eras.
In addition, there has been a re-hang of the paintings including works by Gainsborough, Turner, Reynolds, Romney, Landseer, Millais and Holman Hunt. Holt had a special liking for the work of John Strudwickand ordered pictures from him which can be seen in the garden hall, the original entrance to the house.
Robin Emmerson, National Museums Liverpool’s head of decorative arts, says:
“Sudley is a unique attraction, displaying the domestic artistic tastes of a Victorian merchant. This extended from his art collection to the design of his home and how the rooms were ordered and fitted out.