Thursday 23 October - Saturday 25 October 2014

Jointly organised by Auckland Castle, The Bowes Museum, and Durham University, this three-day symposium aims to highlight the outstanding collections of Spanish art held in County Durham. Papers will cover a wide range of topics, intended to place these collections within their artistic, cultural, and historic context.  The symposium will also be an opportunity to consider the reception of seventeenth-century Spanish art in Britain, marking the bicentenary of the arrival of Velázquez’s ‘Rokeby Venus’ in Teesdale (now in the National Gallery of London).  

Reserve Your Place

 To see details of speakers, accommodation, student bursaries and how to book please click here.

For any further enquiries please contact or contact Rosie Bradford on 01833 694615.


Zurbaran, Martyrdom of Santiago, Museum del Prado

Several stately homes in County Durham have for generations had an association with Spanish art – Auckland Castle, Rokeby Hall, Raby Castle and Windlestone Hall - and Spanish painting has fascinated influential figures such as Frank Hall Standish, Bishop Richard Trevor, John and Joséphine Bowes. Today the results of this interest are to be found at The Bowes Museum and Auckland Castle. It is hoped that this part of the country will become established as a centre for the appreciation and study of Spanish art in the UK, fostered by close relationships between museums and universities in the region.

Van der Hamen y Leon, Still Life with Artichokes, Flowers and Glass Vessels, Museum del Prado

The Symposium will be accompanied by a small exhibition 17th Century Spanish Painting:The Golden Age, focusing on Francisco Pacheco (1564-1644) and his relationship with the Sevillian School of painting, and exploring his significant influence upon the second generation of painters of the seventeenth-century in Seville. Pacheco’s own work, ‘The Last Communion of Saint Raymond Nonnatus’ presented to the Museum in 1964 and having undergone a period of conservation, will be displayed accompanied by loans from the Museo del Prado, The National Gallery, and York Museums Trust.  

Valdes Leal, Immaculate Conception with two Donors, National Gallery, London


Day 1 - Thursday 23 October - Auckland Castle, Bishop Auckland

Auckland Castle, has been the palace of the Bishop of Durham for over 900 years. One of its greatest treasures is the extraordinary series of Jacob and his Twelve Sons by Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664) and his studio, painted between 1640 and 1645. This set of monumental and arresting paintings was purchased in 1756 by Richard Trevor, Bishop of Durham 1752 - 1771, at the posthumous sale of James Mendez, a Jewish merchant of Portuguese origins. Ever since, the paintings have hung in the Long Dining Room at Auckland Castle, which Trevor remodelled as a gallery for their display. 

Evening 1 - Dinner at Auckland Castle, Bishop Auckland

A luxurious three course dinner in the beautiful home of the Prince Bishops.

Day 2 -  Friday 24 October- The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle

The Bowes Museum, founded by John and Joséphine Bowes and opened in 1892, holds one of the largest public collections of Spanish paintings in Britain outside London, including works by El Greco and Goya. The majority of these paintings were acquired by the Founders in 1862-63 from the collection of the Countess de Quinto, through their Parisian dealer, Benjamin Gogué.

 Evening 2 - Dinner at The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle

 Served in the stunning surroundings of the 19th century picture gallery and a private tour of the exhibition of Spanish Paintings.

Day 3 - Saturday 25 October - Durham University, Durham City

Durham University is home to Spanish paintings located in Durham Castle and at Ushaw College. The Symposium is being supported by academics from the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture and the Institute of Advanced Studies.