Judy Hurst - Illumination: the Gateway to Eternity
Judy Hurst - Illumination: the Gateway to Eternity

Judy Hurst - Illumination: the Gateway to Eternity

21 September 2019 – 23 February 2020

Exquisite intricate works of art, some inspired by The Bowes Museum’s own collection, will be on display as contemporary artist Judy Hurst returns for her latest selling exhibition Illumination: the Gateway to Eternity.


Specialising in the historic and traditional technique of painting on vellum (calfskin), a method used for making illuminated manuscripts from medieval times onward; her work is informed by her knowledge, respect and deep love of nature, wildlife and Northern heritage as well as the patterns she believes are fundamental to existence.


The vivid colour and design in Hurst’s work acknowledge the eternal microcosms found throughout the universe, from the smallest structures in nature to the celestial galaxies and beyond.  It’s also inspired by the patterns and layout of Anglo-Savon manuscripts, particularly the large and decorative ‘carpet’ pages that often feature at the beginning of the text/opening of a work.


Born and raised in Durham, Judy has a degree in fine art and her work is held in public and private collections across the globe.   She has taught in New Zealand and the UK.  Her work has also been shown locally at Durham Cathedral and Durham University.


Dr Howard Coutts, The Bowes Museum’s Curator of Ceramics, said: “We are delighted to welcome Judy back to the Museum with a selection of her intricate illustrated works.   They include framed vellum paintings, gilded with 24-carat gold leaf, incorporating designs with 18-carat gold, titanium, silver, semi-precious stones, glass and exotic wood.”


Judy said: “Painting is how I share what I find incredibly exciting – that nature is existence – and all existing things, organic and inanimate, are formed from the same building blocks of atoms (which in turn are made from even smaller particles).  I believe that humans have recognised and acknowledged these patterns since time immemorial throughout our world.  I enjoy starting from a vague idea, then instinct takes me into worlds I never knew were there and which I find entrancing.  When I share my worlds with the onlooker, I feel a great sense of connection and achievement and this gives me great pleasure.”


The selling exhibition at The Bowes Museum will give visitors the opportunity to purchase their own piece of her work or to simply admire the quality of the images.


Judy Hurst – Illumination: the Gateway to Eternity will open on 21 September and closes on 23 February 2020.


The Bowes Museum, Café Bowes and shop are open daily from 10am. For more information about events and exhibitions contact 01833 690606 or visit the website thebowesmuseum.org.uk






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. www.artscouncil.org.uk

·         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, www.discoverdurham.co.uk



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