Another National Trust property! This time in East London.
Sutton House was built in the countryside by Tudor courtier and aristocrat Sir Ralph Sadlier. He was a close compatriot of Thomas Cromwell and was played by Thomas Brodie-Sangster in the series Wolf Hall.
Along with presenting the history of the House, there was an art exhibition entitled ‘Life, Death, Whatever’. It features different takes by artists to the place between life and death.
The exhibition was in every room of the large house. I really enjoyed this piece – Loosey Goosey. It is a beanie baby at 100x the scale. The artist made it in response to finding out her mother was dying. She is playing on the ideas from her childhood and morphing them.
The Tudor wall panelling was also fantastic. You can even pull some panels open to see what lies behind!
Another part of the exhibition – a ball pit in a coffin! They invite you to play with it. These coffins are ‘eco-coffins’ and will decompose with you.
The Great Room was the Tudor highlight for me! It features these portraits of Ralph Sadlier’s great grandson and wife by Mary Beale. Beale was one of the first successful female portrait painters. The faces and clothing are iconic Stuart Era.
Part of the house’s history includes the time before it was part of the National Trust. In the 1980s it housed multiple squatters. I really liked the squatters room – it really connects the house to the modern period.
A lovely embroidery! It references all the different parts of Sutton House and the lives it has led. The school programs here are particularly well known. They even have plays (along with art exhibition).
From the courtyard – the wisteria must look marvellous in spring. They have a cute little cafe and shop as well. One side (Breaker’s Yard) has a really nice play area for children as well.
Pros: Super cool architecture, interesting story, clear interpretation, touchable stuff, great collection, thought provoking exhibition, kind staff, nice washrooms, stuff for kids
Cons: They are doing a lot of different things which can be confusing, difficult for those with mobility issues (no lift, not much seating other than the cafe)