Summer Colour at Sudbury Hall

a family playing with colour filters

The 1960s were a decade of vivid colours, bold prints and major social changes and although Sudbury Hall didn’t exactly get a psychedelic makeover, some major redecorating took place. 1967 marked to start of Sudbury Hall’s life as a National Trust property and so the challenge began…

The job of turning the largely empty Sudbury Hall into a suitable place for visitors was no mean feat. The Trust enlisted the help of eminent interior designer John Fowler to help them through. His aim was to capture the spirit of the building and enhance its gorgeous interior features whilst respecting the building’s historical integrity. His influential work can still be seen throughout the Hall today, most notably the vivid mustard yellow of the great hall, which is now official colour ‘Sudbury Yellow’!

A vivid shade, Sudbury Yellow
A vivid shade, Sudbury Yellow

At the time the changes Fowler made would have been huge, the beautiful carvings on the great staircase were a dark glossy brown and the walls a deep maroon almost a polar opposite to what we see today! The space feels light and airy, especially on sunny summer days when light seems to cascade down the staircase. Just imagine how different it would have looked back in 1967!

Imagine how different it would have looked painted in dark gloss paint
the carving of the great staircase painted white

This summer we’re exploring why Sudbury’s distinctive 1960’s colour schemes were chosen and the effect that light and colour can have on how we feel about a space. We are asking our visitors their thought on Fowler’s work and what colours they would have chosen had they been in his shoes.