The Bowes Museum's Spanish paintings to be shown in America
The Bowes Museum's Spanish paintings to be shown in America

The Bowes Museum's Spanish paintings to be shown in America

Eleven masterpieces will star in an exhibition at the Meadows Museum in Dallas from 15 September.

A selection of The Bowes Museum’s Spanish paintings are being prepared for their journey to America.


The 11 paintings will form an exhibition called El Greco, Goya, and a Taste for Spain: Highlights from The Bowes Museum at the Meadows Museum, SMU, in Dallas, Texas.


It’s the first time many of these works from the Barnard Castle based Museum have been shown in the United States and follows a successful tour of a similar selection to the Wallace Collection in London in 2017.


The exhibition will span three centuries and explore one of the largest collections of Spanish art in Britain.  The majority of the paintings were acquired by John and Joséphine Bowes between 1862 and 1863 from the collection of the Countess de Quinto in Paris, through the art dealer Benjamin Gogué.  This collection was formed in Spain by the Conde de Quinto after the dissolution of the ecclesiastical institution – known as Desamortización – carried out by the Government from 1835 to 1837.


Religious themes and iconography are displayed in many of the works, others depict monarchy and social injustice.


Some of the masterpieces in the exhibition include: The Tears of Saint Peter by El Greco; the Interior of a Prison and Portrait of Juan Antonio Melédez Valdes by Goya; Portrait of a Carmelite Monk by Juan Baustista Maino and Tobias Restoring his Father’s Sight by Antonio de Pereda y Salgado.


The exhibition will also include selected archival materials that demonstrate John and Joséphine’s process of collecting, such as the catalogue from the de Quinto sale with John Bowes’ annotations.


It will be accompanied by a catalogue which features essays by curators from both institutions that not only illustrates the paintings on view in the Meadows exhibition but also includes an appendix listing other Spanish paintings from The Bowes Museum.


Adrian Jenkins, the Director of The Bowes Museum, will present a lecture about the paintings and the Boweses at the Meadows as part of the opening events for the exhibition.


Adrian Jenkins, said: “When The Bowes Museum opened its doors to the public in 1892 it had the largest public collection of Spanish paintings in the UK.  Neither John nor Joséphine Bowes lived to realise their vision and I’m sure they would have been delighted to think that their acquisitions will be shown on the other side of the world.”


Mark A. Roglán, the Linda P. and William A. Custard Director of the Meadows Museum, said: “We are delighted to welcome these amazing paintings to the United States, some, for the first time. They capture the richness of Spanish art and its development from the early Renaissance to the Enlightenment.  Additionally, each of the artists represented in this exhibition are also represented within our permanent collection, so this is an opportunity for our visitors to see different aspects of each painter’s work.”


El Greco, Goya, and a Taste for Spain: Highlights from The Bowes Museum will be open from 15 September 2019 until 12 January 2020.


Visitors to The Bowes Museum during the loan will see the paintings replaced by among others, the Osequio a el maestro by Goya, a reproduction print of the Tears of Saint Peter and Marie Louis of Orleans, Queen of Spain by Francisco Ignazio Ruiz de la Iglesia.


Room 36, the 1800 – 1900 picture gallery will be closed from 19 August to 23 August to allow for the dismount of the paintings.


The Meadows Museum is the leading US institution focused on the study and presentation of Spanish art.  In 1962, Dallas businessman and philanthropist Algur H. Meadows donated his private collection of Spanish paintings and the funds to start a museum to Southern Methodist University.  The museum opened to the public in 1965.


It is home to one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Spanish art outside of Spain spanning from the 10th to the 21st centuries and includes paintings and works on paper by such artists as El Greco, Velázquez, Murillo, Ribera, Sorolla, Picasso, Miró and Dali.




Notes to editors:


·         The Bowes Museum was created over 100 years ago by an extraordinary couple, John and Joséphine Bowes.  Together they built up the greatest private collection of fine and decorative arts in the North of England and constructed a magnificent building to house them in.  The collection contains thousands of objects including furniture, paintings, sculpture, ceramics, textiles and many other items covering an extensive range of European styles and periods. 

  • The Bowes Museum receives a core funding grant from Durham County Council and as a Major Portfolio Museum receives support from Arts Council England.
  • Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.
  • The Bowes Museum has undergone major redevelopment, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, One NorthEast through the County Durham Economic Partnership, English Heritage, Northern Rock Foundation, The Monument Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, The Foyle Foundation, The European Regional Development Fund, DCMS/Wolfson Museum and Galleries Improvement Fund, Designation Challenge Fund, The Shears Foundation, The Richard and Suzanna Tonks Family Fund at County Durham Foundation, Durham County Council, The Friends of The Bowes Museum, The Headley Trust, Sir James Knott Trust, Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust, Fenwick Ltd, Mercers Charitable Foundation, Welton Foundation.

·         The Bowes Museum is a member of the Discover Durham partnership of attractions. Our commitment is to promote Durham as an exciting and vibrant group travel destination and to provide the travel trade with a professional and knowledgeable service: hotline number 03000 262626,



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