Sudbury Hall has been a southern fortified settlement in Derbyshire since Saxon times, then in the kingdom of Mercia. In 1513 it was inherited by Sir John Vernon (d.1545). The house as we know it today, with its rich seventeenth-century plasterwork, carvings and Louis Laguerre murals, is essentially the creation of his great-great-grandson, George Vernon (1636–1702). The overdoor and overmantel oil paintings were supplied by Hendrick Danckerts, and Jan Griffier I, who painted a bird’s-eye view of the completed house from the south. The pictures remaining at Sudbury are mainly portraits, although one of Gainsborough’s masterpieces, the delightfully informal whole-length of 'George Venables Vernon (1735–1813)', was sold in 1919 and is now in Southampton City Art Gallery. Similarly, Caravaggio’s 'The Supper at Emmaus', once owned by George John Vernon Warren (1803–1866), 5th Baron Vernon, was given by him to the National Gallery in 1839. In 1967 Sudbury Hall was surrendered to the Treasury in part payment of duties after the death of Francis (1889–1963), 9th Lord Vernon, and subsequently transferred to the National Trust via the National Land Fund. John (1923–2000), 10th Lord Vernon, built himself a house nearby, to which many of the contents of the Hall were removed. The cabinet with Old Testament scenes painted on copper, from the studio of Frans Francken II, was transferred to the Trust in 1984.
National Trust, Sudbury Hall
Sudbury, Ashbourne, Derbyshire DE6 5HT England
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26 February 2021
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