The BFG comes to The Bowes Museum this Summer
The BFG comes to The Bowes Museum this Summer

The BFG comes to The Bowes Museum this Summer

Everyone’s favourite giant is coming to The Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle this summer, in a magical exhibition of Quentin Blake’s enchanting illustrations.

The BFG in Pictures, which opens at the Museum on Saturday 14 July 2018, is the first major display of artwork by Quentin Blake for Roald Dahl’s enduring tale.

Blake has personally selected 40 pieces from his archive, to illuminate his experience of working on the popular book and has also written the commentary to inform the exhibition’s interpretative text, relating his first-hand experience of collaborating with Dahl and his approach to illustration.

The exhibition includes several unpublished illustrations from the first design stage of the book, providing a unique insight into the development of one of the most iconic characters in children’s literature. Exhibited alongside the final illustrations for the book, they reveal a teasing glimpse of the rapport between author and illustrator, and a hint of a BFG that might have been . . .

“It’s an honour to display Blake’s illustrations at The Bowes Museum and we can’t wait to share them with our visitors,” said Education Coordinator, Amy Bainbridge. “Perfect for the summer, The BFG in Pictures exhibition will interest family members of all ages and is not to be missed!”

Accompanying the exhibition is a lively activity programme for families, relating to the delightful illustrations. A variety of themed drop-in events takes place throughout the school holidays, giving families the added advantage of using their family pass for unlimited repeat visits.

Families can also enter The BFG’s cave, packed full of activities including a comfy reading area, BFG related craft activities and fancy dress. Check the Museum website for more details of the events programme and the scrumdiddlyumptious BFG themed afternoon teas in Café Bowes.

In addition, the Museum is hosting a teacher training event linked to the exhibition on Thursday 19 July. Practical Ideas for Creative Writing and Drawing in Primary Schools is being delivered by published author Adam Bushnell and established artist Vicky Holbrough. As well as viewing the exhibition, teachers will be given many practical ideas that promote creative writing and drawing techniques in the classroom. School workshops linked to the exhibition are also available. To book or for more information, please email  

The BFG in Pictures is a touring exhibition from House of Illustration - - in London, the UK’s only public gallery devoted to illustration and graphic arts. The exhibition will be at The Bowes Museum from 14 July – 30 September 2018.

For further information and images please contact 01833 694616.

The Bowes Museum opens daily at 10.00am; for further information visit the website at     

Image credit: Cover artwork for 'The BFG' (Jonathan Cape, 1982) © Quentin Blake


Notes to editors:

·         House of Illustration  is the UK’s only public gallery dedicated solely to illustration and graphic art. Founded by Sir Quentin Blake it opened in July 2014 in King’s Cross, London. Its exhibition programme explores both historic and contemporary illustration and the work of defining and emerging illustrators, amplified by a vibrant programme of talks and events. A registered charity, House of Illustration supports and promotes new talent, commissions new work and has a pioneering learning programme delivered by professional illustrators. 

·         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.

·         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 0191 301 8531,



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!