Man on a boat

Friends' Events 2015

Restoring the Flemish Altarpiece Friday 4 September 10.15 for 11.00 am

John Bowes favoured early religious art, and bought the magnificent ‘Passion’ altarpiece by the Master of the View of St Gudule from his regular supplier, Monbro, in 1859, possibly intending it for a private chapel. We shall hear from Alison Nicholson who led the appeal through the Art Fund’s new crowdfunding scheme Art Happens, Jon Old and Paul Turner who restored the paintings, and Rupert McBain whose team restored the woodwork.

Coffee and biscuits will be served.

Friends £10 Guests £13

An ‘All Things Belgian’ Evening Tuesday 20 October 7.00 pm

In this issue, Adrian Jenkins draws attention to an unexpected opportunity: to acquire a portrait by Thomas Gainsborough of John Joseph Merlin, who made the Silver Swan. The Friends would like to help raise funds – but have a little fun too. Are there really only two famous Belgians? Surely Merlin, at least, should be added to the list! We invite you to an entertaining event to celebrate everything Belgian and to explore all ten (or not even that many?) things we know about Belgium as well. So swot up your Belgian knowledge for a devilishly tricky quiz, and we promise you a surprise here and there, as well as a special delicacy or two, in honour of Joseph Merlin.

Refreshments are included.

Friends and Guests £15

Excavations near Cataractonium Friday 6 November 2.00 pm

Anyone who regularly uses the A1 travelling south will have noticed the recently completed archaeological dig to the east of the road near Catterick, where road widening is now taking place. These excavations were led by Richard Fraser of Northern Archaeological Associates, and we are delighted that he has accepted our invitation to come and tell us more about the extraordinary discoveries made and what they have revealed about the early history of this key trading and transport route.

Afternoon tea will follow this talk. Friends £12 Guests £15

Lighting the Friends’ Christmas Tree Sunday 29 November 2.30 - 4.30 pm

As this event is principally aimed at children, we have decided on a complete change of time and day of the week. We hope that picking a weekend afternoon will enable many more young families to join us for music, craft activities, meeting Green Santa and enjoying the moment when the lights on the tree are switched on by ... I wonder who?

The Bowes Café and Shop will be open.

Free to all after 2.30 pm

Barnard Castle School Carol Concert Friday 11 December 7.30 pm

The Friends look forward to this event every year. Please make a note of the date and remember that early booking is always advised.

Drinks and nibbles will be served from 7.00pm.

Friends £10 Guests £13

Watch this space for news of more Friends' Events coming soon!

Booking and Information: To book tickets for any Friends' Event or to gain further information, contact the Friends' Office, tel 01833 690606 ext.233 or email:

Tickets may also be booked by completing the Booking Form included in the quarterly "Bowes Arts" and sending it to:


The Friends' Office (Events)
The Bowes Museum
Barnard Castle
DL12 8NP


When booking tickets, please enclose a stamped addressed envelope; without this, tickets will have to be collected.

The Friends' office is run by volunteers and it is not, therefore, always possible to speak to someone. However, you may leave a message on the answer phone or in an email and a response will be sent at the earliest opportunity.