Norman Cornish: The Definitive Collection extended to 17 May
Norman Cornish: The Definitive Collection extended to 17 May

Norman Cornish: The Definitive Collection extended to 17 May

Popular demand means there's now more time to see the exhibition

The Bowes Museum is delighted to announce that due to popular demand it’s extending the run of the Norman Cornish: The Definitive Collection exhibition until 17 May.


This is the only exhibition dedicated to the lifetime work 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 publicly 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.


Dr Howard Coutts, Curator at The Bowes Museum, said: “The response we have had to this centenary celebratory exhibition has been outstanding; it’s drawn people into the Museum from all over the country, many who are revisiting their own childhoods or that of their family, to those who are keen to see what life was like in the North East as Cornish captured it.  It makes it all the more clear that Norman Cornish’s work follows in the footsteps of Breughel, Rembrandt and the Impressionists 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 an extended closing date of 17 May, 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.


There’s a Learn to draw like Cornish event 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 another 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 until 23 February, with eight replica images of Cornish’s paintings 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 will now close on Sunday 17 May.


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

Information about closing

19 March 2020

Unfortunately, due to the continuing development of the Coronavirus situation, The Bowes Museum is now closed until further notice. The health and wellbeing of both our customers and our staff is our priority.

Where events can be rescheduled we will endeavour to do so but please be assured that all ticket holders for cancelled events have options on refunds and can contact, however by not requesting a refund you would be making an exceptionally generous and much appreciated charitable donation to The Bowes Museum during these unprecedented times.

Whilst the Museum is closed, we will be working on other ways of sharing our story and collection via our digital platforms. Stay posted for online videos, conversations and more.

We thank you for your patience and your continued support for The Bowes Museum during this unpredictable time. We hope to come back to you with a reopening date shortly, for now, please stay safe and help protect the vulnerable.

25 March 2020

It is with great sadness that The Bowes Museum has taken the decision to temporarily close all gates to the grounds following a spate of vandalism around the parkland.

Since the Museum closed on Wednesday 18 March the benches in the story area have been damaged, the totem pole pulled over and broken, there have been attempts to pull out outdoor trail markers and branches have been pulled down and plants uprooted.

The Museum is working with the police to find the perpetrators of these actions. PC Michael Banks of Durham Constabulary said "This is a shameful piece of criminal damage within the grounds of a historical location in Barnard Castle anyone with information please contact Durham Constabulary quoting reference number DHM23032020-0189"

The Director of The Bowes Museum, Adrian Jenkins, said: "It is a shame that the actions of a few will have an impact on many but this closure also ties in with the latest government advice to stay at home to help restrict the spread of coronavirus and the Museum is following in the footsteps of other organisations who have closed gated parks and gardens.

There are tips from our education officer on the Museum's social media platforms for keeping the kids, and yourselves, entertained while in isolation and we'll be updating the website regularly with new and exciting information about the collection.

In the meantime, please keep safe and we look forward to welcoming you back to the Museum and grounds when it reopens."

You can keep up to date with developments here or on our Facebook and Twitter.

We’ll be back…