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The exhibition includes several unpublished illustrations from the first design stage of the book, providing a unique insight into the development of one of the most iconic characters in children’s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 amy.bainbridge@thebowesmuseum.org.uk  

The BFG in Pictures is a touring exhibition from House of Illustration -  www.houseofillustration.org.uk - 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 sheila.dixon@thebowesmuseum.org.uk 01833 694616.

The Bowes Museum opens daily at 10.00am; for further information visit the website at www.thebowesmuseum.org.uk     

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

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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. houseofillustration.org.uk@illustrationHQ 

·         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, www.discoverdurham.co.uk

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The Bowes Museum is closed!


Due to the government announcement on Thursday 17 December, that County Durham is to remain in COVID tier 3 restrictions, The Bowes Museum unfortunately will remain closed to all visitors.

As we have already been shut for a number of weeks and there is much uncertainty around possible further restrictions, we have decided to use this period to undertake some work in Caf� Bowes, alongside performing some much-needed structural repairs to the building, notably to the windows. January and February are usually quieter times for the Museum, often due to severe weather, so we believe that this is the best time to carry out such works with the least amount of disruption to our visitors.

We have therefore decided to remain closed for a period of four weeks following any near-future tier 2 announcement from the government, as this will allow us time to deep clean the Museum prior to reopening our doors once again. We will, of course, keep you updated as the guidelines change.

Your ongoing support during these unprecedented times is hugely appreciated and we very much look forward to welcoming you back into the building as early as possible in 2021.

Do please remember, however, that the Museum�s park and grounds remain open to visitors from 10.00 � 4.00 daily, and that we are currently hosting a woodland fairy trail, clues can be found here.

We hope to be able to offer a few COVID-safe outdoor events over the coming months, about which we shall make further announcements as soon as possible.