Last chance to see Norman Cornish: The Definitive Collection.
Last chance to see Norman Cornish: The Definitive Collection.

Last chance to see Norman Cornish: The Definitive Collection.

Exhibition closes at 5pm on 23 February

There are just over two weeks left to see the only exhibition dedicated to the lifetime work of Norman Cornish at The Bowes Museum.


Norman Cornish: The Definitive Collection celebrates the centenary of the acclaimed County Durham artist and features more than 70 works from across his career, including items from public and private collections, some of which have never been shown before.


Norman Cornish worked as a miner for over 30 years and his work acts as a snapshot of a bygone time as he chronicled everyday life in mining communities, painting what he knew; the pit road, the pub and surrounding streets being common themes he returned to.


John Cornish, Norman’s son, said: The exhibition at The Bowes Museum gives a unique in-sight into my father’s work. It is the culmination of a year-round celebration of the centenary of his birth and opened within days of what would have been his 100th birthday. The exhibition  really showcases his place in art history and is a once in a lifetime chance to see so many of his works under one roof.


Dr Howard Coutts, Curator at The Bowes Museum, said: “The exhibition shows the breadth of Cornish’s work right across the board from intimate family sketches, to pastels and oil and large corporate commissions.  It clearly shows that his work is comparable to that of Edgar Degas who also painted contemporary life.”


Visitors to the exhibition are being invited to take a photograph of their street to be shown alongside Cornish’s work in the exhibition.


The Cornish family has kindly donated a framed copy of Berrimans Chip Van to be given to the person who takes the best photograph, with runners up getting a family day pass for The Bowes Museum.  Entries can be sent to with a closing date of February 23, 2020.


The Museum has teamed up with other organisations, including Northern Heartlands, the Durham Great Place Scheme funded by Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, to run events throughout the exhibition, and there’s still a chance to take part in some before its last day on February 23.


On Saturday 8 February there’s a free Learn to draw like Norman Cornish outreach session at Woodland Village Hall, from 10 – 1 and 1 – 3. Where people can learn to create a self-portrait in the style of Norman Cornish with the artist Vicky Holbrough and how to make their very own sketchbook which they can then fill with Cornish style sketches. 


These sessions have proved so popular that another Learn to draw like Cornish event has been scheduled to take place at Toft Hill Community Centre on Saturday 15 February, from 10 – 1 and 1 – 3.  Artist Vicky Holbrough will show people how to create a self-portrait in the style of Norman Cornish and how to make their very own sketchbook which they can then fill with Cornish style sketches. 


Booking for the Learn to draw like Cornish workshops is advised by emailing:


Your memories of life in Cornish’s era could help a PHD student with his thesis.  Come and reminisce about the exhibition to Lucas Ferguson-Sharp in a Norman Cornish: Collecting Memories event on Saturday 15 February from 10.30 – 12.30.  Ferguson-Sharp is doing a doctorate on the Spennymoor based artist and hopes visitors to the exhibition will take part in this informal friendly and free event.  Booking required.


There’s a final chance to take part in a Learn to draw like Cornish event on Monday 17 February in the education vaults at the Museum.  Where Vicky Holbrough will teach people how to create a self-portrait in the style of Norman Cornish from 10 – 1 before taking part in a workshop in the afternoon from 1 – 3 where they can make their own sketchbook to fill with Cornish style sketches.  Admission to this workshop is free with admission to the Museum and is open to adults and children over the age of 10. Booking is essential by contacting


Northern Heartland’s selfie picture trail continues throughout the exhibition, eight replica images of Cornish’s paintings have been hidden in four former Teesdale pit villages where people can take a photograph of themselves in the scene, before ending up at the culmination of the trail in reception at the Museum.


Norman Cornish: The Definitive Collection closes at 5pm on Sunday 23 February.


The Museum shop is selling Cornish prints, cards and books.


The Bowes Museum is open from 10am to 5pm every day. Entry to Café Bowes and the shop is free.  For more information on our exhibitions and events programme please see our website





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,



Categories: News

The Bowes Museum is looking forward to welcoming you on the 17 May

Staff have been busy behind the Museum’s closed doors getting everything ready to welcome visitors back safely.

Café Bowes has undergone a refurbishment and has a new menu waiting to be sampled, the Museum has been deep cleaned, new signage is in place reminding you to adhere to social distancing, hand sanitisation stations have been refilled, the shop has been restocked and staff are being trained ready to greet you back in a safe and timely manner.

North Country Quilts: In Celebration of New Acquisitions is now hanging in the main exhibition gallery ready to wow visitors through to January 2022 and, due to social distancing measures, entry to the display will be by a separate timed exhibition entrance ticket that needs to be booked, at no extra cost, before visiting. Song has also been reinstated in the Music Room so people can enjoy the sound of the instruments. A varied programme of activity is being planned throughout May and June which we hope you will participate in.

Entry to the Museum will be by timed slots and tickets will have to be pre-booked online here or by calling 01833 690606. The Museum will be open from 10.00 to 5.00 daily. Masks will need to be worn throughout the Museum, shop and café, except when eating or where exemptions apply.

We look forward to welcoming you back soon!