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2020 Exhibitions

North Country Quilts: In Celebration of New Acquisitions

17 May 2021 - 9 January 2022

This exhibition celebrates the quilting traditions of northern England by showcasing historical and contemporary quilts that are among the finest examples of the craft acquired by the Museum in the last 20 years.
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Paul Scott: New American Scenery

26 September 2020– 9 January 2022

New American Scenery showcases the latest ceramic works by the contemporary Cumbrian artist Paul Scott, featuring works of historical transferwares that have been updated for today's audience. Scott spent five years investigating early blue and white transferwares that were shipped from Staffordshire to the United States in the 19th century.
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The Adventures of Clara

17 July 2021– 31 October 2021

In 1738 Clara was the most famous rhinoceros in Europe. She travelled the world inspiring people and creating a sensation; letters, poems, songs, paintings, books and sculptures like our very own were produced. This exhibition toured the globe and visitors could can see, hear, smell and learn how Clara lived and what she did. As well as find out how to help save rhinos for the future.
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Norman Cornish: The Definitive Collection

16 November 2019 - 17 January 2021

Celebrating the centenary of acclaimed artist Norman Cornish MBE, this major retrospective tells the story of his enduring career with the most comprehensive collection of his work ever assembled, including a number of previously unseen pieces.
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Bouts Art Competition Exhibition

23 October - 22 November 2020

The artworks on display were the selected winning entries from the Bouts Art Competition. The Bouts Art Competition ran from 5 June 2020 to 30 June 2020. The competition was designed for young people ages 13 - 25 years old, to engage them with the Bouts painting: 'St Luke Drawing the Virgin and Child' which returns to The Bowes Museum in autumn 2020.
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Pre-Raphaelite Knights: Reinventing the Medieval World

1 February – 8 November 2020

Explore a world of medieval myths and legends, of tales of heroic deeds and chivalric honour; for the most part the knights depicted by the Pre-Raphaelites in the 19th century were lovers as well as fighters. Masterworks by Rossetti, Millais and Burne Jones bring these tales and myths to life.
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Bouts Art Competition Exhibition

20 July - 31 August 2020

The artworks on display are the selected winning entries from the Bouts Art Competition. The Bouts Art Competition ran from 5 June 2020 to 30 June 2020. the competition was designed for young people ages 13 - 25 years old, to engage them with the Bouts painting: 'St Luke Drawing the Virgin and Child' which returns to The Bowes Museum this autumn.
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blimey! Lucretia

7 March - 11 October 2020

blimey! Lucretia is an exhibition which explores the representation of women in culture. The blimey! collective, a group of female led Darlington artists, took inspiration from The Power and The Virtue: Guido Reni's Death of Lucretia exhibition, to delve into the story of the painting of Lucretia to create this immersive exhibition.
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Judy Hurst – Illumination: the Gateway to Eternity

21 September 2019 – 13 September 2020

Judy Hurst returns to The Bowes Museum with another display of intricate illustrative works. She specialises in the historic and traditional technique of painting on vellum (calfskin). Her work is inspired by her knowledge, respects and deep love of nature and the patterns that she believes are fundamental to existence.
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2019 Exhibitions

Lego®: Building The Bowes Museum

25 May – 23 February 2020

Everyone of all ages, from children to the young at heart, could see our Museum in a new way and recreate our history and collections in LEGO®! Visitors could follow the trail and build some of the objects from our collection that tell the story of John and Joséphine Bowes.
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#Untitled10 2019

11 October – 28 February 2020

10 craft makers and artists in residence at The Bowes Centre, will present a unique series of works in progress displayed around the Museum, near items or stories that influenced their creation. #Untitled10 2019 will explore the concepts of craft, materials and making, showcasing the processes involved in interpreting the Museum itself, its history and collection.
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The Power And The Virtue: Guido Reni's Death of Lucretia

26 October – 20 January 2020

This is the first exhibition outside London dedicated to the Italian Baroque master Guido Reni, presenting the artist and his relevance in Western art history. This exclusive exhibition will feature unique works by the master from prestigious public and private collections that will allow to experience for the first time the mastery and the aesthetic quality of Guido Reni’s masterpieces.
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Hockney and Hollywood

13 July – 3 November 2019

This Summer we welcome Hollywood to The Bowes Museum in the form of a major photo montage by Britain's most famous living artist. The picture called Nude, 17th June 1984 was commissioned by film director Nicolas Roeg (best known for directing amongst others The Witches) for the movie Insignificance that starred his wife Theresa Russell as Marilyn Monroe. Accompanying this are original photographs taken by Roeg observing Hockney at work on the picture.
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Pirates, Pants and Wellyphants

20 July – 3 November

Immerse yourself in Nick Sharratt’s world, find out about his childhood and what inspired him to become an illustrator, and meet a host of the characters that he has created throughout his career including Tracy Beaker, Daisy, Hetty Feather and Pirate Pete.
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Frances Priest: Influences of the East

22 June - 15 September 2019

Ceramics artist Frances Priest presents a selection of her recent work inspired by Eastern ornaments, colours and patterns, set amongst historic Chinese and Japanese porcelain from Museum’s own collections.
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Goya's Prison: The Year of Despair

23 March - 23 June 2019

Late in 1792 Goya became severely ill, and even though he eventually recovered he was left profoundly deaf for the rest of his days. During a period of recuperation he produced a set of small cabinet paintings on tin plate that were to define the rest of his career.The Bowes Museum’s Interior of a Prison is one of this series of works, and the Museum’s Director, Adrian Jenkins, explored the story behind the picture created during this monumental moment in Goya’s life.
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The Northern School of Art

8 April - 12 June 2019

Students from The Northern School of Art (BA) Textiles & Surface Design degree programme collaborated with The Bowes Museum to create an outstanding collection of new surface designs for fashion fabrics, gifts and products for public viewing.

SOLD! The Great British Antiques Story

26 January – 6 May 2019

The first time the history of antique dealing has been the subject of an exhibition, with an in-depth look at dealers, their eye for objects, some which had not previously been on public display before, their shops, and practices.
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Still Life Is Real Life

10 November - 10 March 2019

This innovative display celebrates timeless aspects of everyday life, inviting social comparisons between historic paintings from The Bowes Museum’s still life collection and modern age photographs of the local Barnard Castle market
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'To Serve King and Country': Exploring The Role of Teesdale In The First World War

20 October 2018 - 3 March 2019

This poignant exhibition, the culmination of a five-year project, will explore the role of Teesdale and its residents during WWI, bringing stories to life in a compassionate and informative display.
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Charlotte Hodes: Women and Pattern

13 October 2018 - 24 February 2019

Hodes is a British artist who is renowned for her large intricate papercuts and ornate ceramic vessels. Central to her work is the exploration of the female figure and its relationship to decoration and pattern.
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#Untitled10 – An Exhibition of Ideas

8 November - 10 January

Ten diverse Northern talents beautifully encapsulated the artistic process as it unfurls, using The Bowes Museum as an inspirational backdrop.
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Catwalking: Fashion through the Lens of Chris Moore

7 July 2018 - 6 January 2019

A blockbuster of a show and once in a lifetime opportunity to see world leading fashion designs – from Vivienne Westwood, Chanel, Dior, McQueen, YSL, Giles Deacon, Prada & Jean Paul Gaultier and many more – alongside images from the king of catwalk photography, Chris Moore. The Bowes Museum presented iconic fashion moments!
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2018 Exhibitions

Charlotte Rhead: Between Art & Industry

26 May - 7 October

A selection of items from a private collection of work by this talented ceramic designer, showing the variety of styles and techniques that she created for Crown Ducal between the years 1932 and 1942. The display includes popular decorative patterns, rare designs and examples of tableware.
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The BFG in Pictures

14 July 2018 - 30 September 2018

The BFG in Pictures, toured from the House of Illustration was an exhibition of original Quentin Blake illustrations, prepared for Roald Dahl’s classic story The BFG. The exhibition, curated by Quentin Blake, contained 40 original artworks, including unpublished illustrations of The BFG.
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Queen Victoria in Paris

24 March - 24 June 2018

The Museum was one of only four venues in the UK – and the only one in the North of England - to have staged the Queen Victoria in Paris, an exhibition of watercolours commissioned by the monarch as a souvenir of her momentous 10-day state visit to Paris in August 1855.
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Jonathan Yeo: Skin Deep

10 March – 17 June 2018

Yeo - acclaimed worldwide for his depictions of public figures including Dennis Hopper, Nicole Kidman, Cara Delevingne, Damien Hirst, Malala Yousafzai, Tony Blair, and members of the Royal family - explored the processes involved in cosmetic surgery, what it tells us about an individual’s self-image, perceived cultural ideals of beauty, and the psychology behind an endless search for perfection.
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Joséphine Bowes – The Woman Of Fashion

26 August – 10 June 2018

Building on the theme and popularity of Joséphine Bowes – A Woman of Taste and Influence, a past exhibition which paid tribute to the woman who was a driving force behind the Museum’s creation, this in-focus display highlighted her influence as a socialite and devotee of fashion.
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A Portrait of Place

10 February - 13 May 2018

A series of our overlay, pushed bowl forms, with colours moving through the seasons, exploring the landscape of Teesdale & The Bowes Museum.
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Streatlam Castle: Rediscover The Home Of John And Joséphine Bowes

25 November 2017 – 11 March 2018

In March 1959, the last remains of Streatlam Castle were blown up, destroying all traces of the stately home owned by the Bowes family for over 500 years. As part of The Bowes Museum’s 125th anniversary, this exhibition recreated a detailed picture of the Castle and its contents as they would have been during John Bowes’ lifetime.
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Lux Mundi

20 November - 22 February 2018

Lux Mundi draws on the notion of light as manifestation. Through the organic versus structured nature of Lux Mundi, coupled with the multiple ways of viewing, the installation highlights the duality of light. Elusive but illuminating, quantifiable yet magical.

New Light Prize Exhibition

18 November - 18 February 2018

Hotly tipped as one of the most exciting contemporary shows in the North, this selling exhibition offers a range of prizes for work by Northern artists, with the overall winner awarded the prestigious Valeria Sykes Award of £10,000.
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NADFAS Young Silversmith's Chosen Collection

14 October - 21 January 2018

Since 2003 the North east Area of The National Association of Decorative & Fine Art Societies (NADFAS) and Sheffield Decorative and Fine Art Society have sponsored a Sheffield Millennium Silversmiths' Bursery for students. This prestigious display showed winning contemporary pieces of drinking and pouring vessels.

2017 Exhibitions

The Clockwork Garden

29 July 2017 - 5 November 2017

This enchanting exhibition traveled to the Museum from a far-off planet in an immersive flourish of mechanical creatures, crystal blooms, contemporary artworks, puppets, and cloud machines. This highly creative interactive adventure beguiled and enchanted children and adults alike.
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Turkish Tulips

29 July 2017 - 5 November 2017

This exhibition delved into the complex and paradoxical history behind this iconic flower. Thought provoking contemporary artworks were hidden, sprinkled and interwoven amongst the Museum collection, in an interactive experience that meandered through science, economics and aesthetics.
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Michael Eden: Wedgwood and Wouldn’t

27 May – 17 September 2017

This exhibition celebrated the Wedgwoodn’t Vases by the contemporary artist Michael Eden. The design was loosely based on early Wedgwood Vases which highlight the pioneering techniques of the Industrial Revolution. Eden is at the forefront of a second revolution using 3D printing to create objects that were previously impossible to manufacture.
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Joséphine Bowes: A Woman of Taste and Influence

20 May - 16 July

Joséphine is a fascinating but elusive character. This exhibition explored her many roles: actress, mistress, wife, socialite, follower of fashion, artist and collector.
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Painting the Theatre: Garrick in Action

8 April - 9 July 2017

This special display celebrated England's eighteenth-century best-known actor David Garrick (1717-1779) to mark the 300th anniversary of his birth in 2017.
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Only In England

25 February - 7 May 2017

Photographs by Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr examined the close relationship between the work of these two important photographers and their fascination with English life.
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Dining with The Bowes in the 18th Century

19 November - 30 April

This display showed some of the pottery, porcelain and silver which the Bowes family used for both everyday dining and grand entertaining.

The Allure of Napoleon

28 January - 19 March 2017

As featured on Radio 4’s Front Row, this exhibition highlighting outstanding artworks will offer the opportunity to learn more about our Founders’ interest in Napoleon and the times he defined.
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Cataractonium: Unearthing Life in a Roman Town

26 November – 5 March 2017

An in-focus display of artefacts found by archaeologists as part of a major project to upgrade the A1 to a motorway in North Yorkshire.
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2016 Exhibitions

Shelf Life, The Ornaments Are Talking To Me

15 October - 12 February 2017

In a series of surprisingly cheery assemblage sculptures Belfast born artist Mark Clarke pondered the theme of life, love and loss. Using familiar mantelpiece ornaments, junk shop tat and car boot treasures, these poetic interpretations of the homemade shrine explored dementia, obsession, good and bad taste, collecting and fine art versus outsider art.
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Image and Substance: St Luke Drawing the Virgin and Child

12 November - 8 January 2016

Celebrating this outstanding new acquisition of huge artistic, historical and cultural importance, which is of exceptional interest due to its close associations with Dieric Bouts.
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Echoes of Light

30 July - 30 October 2016

The Northern Branch of the Guild of Glass Engravers is the foremost group of glass engravers in the North of England.
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Shoes: Pleasure and Pain

11 June - 9 October

This exhibition, organised by the V&A, displayed more than 200 pairs of historic and contemporary men’s and women’s shoes by 70 named designers, including Christian Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, Christian Dior and Prada, many from the V&A’s unrivalled collection. The Museum was the only UK venue outside London that to have staged this stunning exhibition.
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English Rose – Feminine Beauty from Van Dyck to Sargent

14 May - 25 September 2016

The concept of the ‘English Rose’ was celebrated in this exhibition. The catalyst for The English Rose – Feminine Beauty from Van Dyck to Sargent - a salute to 400 years of society beauties - was a portrait acquired by the Museum via Arts Council England, in lieu of inheritance tax from the estate of the Duke of Northumberland.
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A British Museum Spotlight Tour: Celebrating Ganesha

21 May - 18 September 2016

India is a land of gods and the Hinduism that originated in India is its most prominent religion. Among the many deities worshipped by the Hindus, Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed god, holds pride of place in the hearts of people.
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The Dales Pony – 100 years of Service

2 April - 4 September 2016

From the mid-19th century to the end of the second world war, thousands of Dales ponies were to be seen in our northern and midland towns.
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Bill Chaytor: Reflections in Silver

30 April - 20 July 2016

This special display showcased a number of works by renowned local silversmith, Bill Chaytor. A local artist, Bill took inspiration from the magnificent countryside of the North-East.
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‘Burning Belief’ By Anthony Clark A.R.C.A

27 February – 1 May 2016

‘Burning Belief’ featured over 50 paintings, drawings and etchings by the renowned artist Anthony Clark. He has been holding both one-man shows and mixed exhibitions for the last forty years and his work is represented in numerous public and private collections including those of President Carter, Cardinal Hume and L.S. Lowry.
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Robert Mapplethorpe: The Magic in the Muse

28 November - 24 April 2016

The Bowes Museum was pleased to present the work of renowned American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. The works in the exhibition were drawn from the collection of ARTIST ROOMS, owned by Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland, which holds one of the most significant collections of Mapplethorpe’s photographs in the world.
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Quiltscapes and Quiltline by Pauline Burbidge

28 November - 10 April 2016

Quiltscapes & Quiltline featured a collection of new work by this acclaimed textile artist, inspired by the beauty of the rural landscape around her home in the Scottish Borders, where she lives and works.
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New Light

17 October - 7 February 2016

Hotly tipped as one of the most exciting shows of contemporary art in the region, the biennial open art prize - comprising a competition and accompanying exhibition - was devised and organised by the charity New Light, from which it takes its name. Its aim was to bring art alive via encouraging, celebrating and promoting the work of talented contemporary artists born, currently living or having studied in the North of England.
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2015 Exhibitions

Yves Saint Laurent, Style is Eternal

11 July - 8 November 2015

The Bowes Museum and the Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent collaborated to create Yves Saint Laurent: Style is Eternal, the first exhibition in the UK to present a comprehensive display of the French fashion designer’s work and life. The YSL show highlighted the defining elements of his vision, and the significant influence it has had on fashion and the way we understand womenswear.

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Prehistoric People

2 May - 27 September 2015

If you’ve ever imagined stepping back in time to experience how our prehistoric ancestors lived, hunted, and defended themselves against wild animals, then a visit to this exhibition was a must.

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Exhibition of Treasures at Tennants

4 July - 31 August 2015

The Bowes Museum and Tennants Auctioneers collaborated to promote culture and the arts in the North East and Yorkshire.

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Common Grounds: Lace Drawn from the Everyday

2 May - 21 June 2015

An installation of light sensitive drawings by artist Sarah Casey went on show in The Bowes Museum’s award winning Fashion & Textiles Gallery.

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Milk Snatcher, Gerald Scarfe - The Thatcher Drawings

14 March - 7 June 2015

A remarkable exhibition which featured Gerald Scarfe’s drawings of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. This previously un-exhibited body of work by the renowned satirical cartoonist and illustrator spanned a period of 22 years, from the Iron Lady’s days as a member of the shadow cabinet through to her leadership of the Conservative Party, her tenure as Prime Minister and ultimately, her political decline.

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Horses & Hunting

16 March 2014 - May 2015

A fascinating display on Victorian hunting, horse breeding and racing, assembled by volunteers from the Archive and Library.

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Birds of Paradise: Plumes & Feathers in Fashion

25 October 2014 – 19 April 2015

Birds of Paradise – Plumes and Feathers in Fashion was a tribute to the elegance of feathers used in the fashion industry past and present, featuring extravagant catwalk creations from British, Belgian, French and Italian designers including Alexander McQueen, Dries Van Noten, Jean Paul Gaultier, Thierry Mugler, Balenciaga, Prada and Gucci.

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Confected, Borrowed and Blue

14 February - 12 April 2015

Blue and white china is often displayed at home for its decorative qualities, but in Paul Scott’s hands domestic ceramics mutated into subversive comments on our life and times.

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Julian Opie Collected Works

25 October 2014 - 22 February 2015

One of the UK’s leading contemporary artists, Opie exploded onto the British art scene in the 1980s; his easily recognisable style characterised by minimalist line portraits and animated walking figures.

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Six Masterpieces of the Spanish Golden Age: Paintings from Madrid, London and York

11 October – 1 February 2015

An exhibition curated by Spanish art specialist Veronique Powell, former Chief Curator and senior lecturer at the Sorbonne in Paris, celebrated the conservation of an important painting not seen publicly for over half a century.

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2014 Exhibitions

Victorian Childhood

21 June - 7 September 2014

Offering up a flavour of childhood in the reign of Queen Victoria, this exhibition explored the way in which young lives were lived during this era depending on the social class each was born into. Using items from the Museum collection, it focused on the ephemera of pieces from daily life.

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Changing Times – Fashion Inspired by 1914 – 1918

14 June - 31 August 2014

To commemorate the centenary of the start of the First World War, students from Northumbria University produced an exhibition inspired by clothing of the era.

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Hockney, Printmaker

7 June – 28 September 2014

Marking the 60th anniversary of David Hockney’s prolific career as a printmaker this exhibition presented over 60 works by the Yorkshire born artist, charting a print career which began in 1954.

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Shafts of Light: Mining Art in the Great Northern Coalfield

17 May – 21 September 2014

A salute to a once essential and powerful workforce this exhibition - which featured around 70 paintings, including works by renowned mining artists Norman Cornish and Tom McGuinness – vividly illustrated the working environment of coalminers through their own interpretation of life in and around the North East of England, allowing the viewer to experience through the artists’ eyes the severe working conditions and social climate of the time.

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Godsbridge X

5 April - 6 July 2014

With British Sculptor Tania Kovats as lead artist, 10 selected artists created their response to God's Bridge: a natural limestone formation across the River Greta, high in the Pennines. The very different creative responses were all gathered into this exhibition.

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Manet: Execution of Maxmilian

22 March - 18 May 2014

A much loved work from the National Gallery Collection - Edouard Manet’s The Execution of Maximilian came to The Bowes Museum as the first painting in the three-year Masterpiece Tour; part of the National Gallery’s commitment to promote the understanding, knowledge and appreciation of Old Master paintings to as wide an audience as possible, with this opportunity receiving support from Christie’s.

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Henry Poole & Co. Founder of Savile Row - The Art of Bespoke Tailoring and Wool Cloth

21 September 2013 - 11 May 2014

Henry Poole & Co, the company that created the dinner jacket and which established Savile Row was the subject of the inaugural exhibition of men’s tailoring and craftsmanship at The Bowes Museum.

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Seven Billion Two Hundred and One Million Nine Hundred and Sixty-Four Thousand and Two Hundred and Thirty-Eight

25 January - 21 April 2014

Born in 1967, one of the Young British Artists, Gavin Turk has pioneered many forms of contemporary British sculpture, including painted bronze, waxwork, recycled art-historical icon and use of rubbish in art. Turk’s installations and sculptures deal with issues of authorship, authenticity and identity. Concerned with the ‘myth’ of the artist and the ‘authorship’ of a work, Turk’s engagement with this modernist, avant-garde debate stretches back to the ready-mades of Marcel Duchamp.

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How to Hide a Lion!

26 October 2013 - 9 February 2014

This entertaining and interactive exhibition brought to life the stories of acclaimed children’s author and illustrator, Helen Stephens. Named after her most recent book, How to Hide a Lion (nominated in the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal award), the exhibition explored where the ideas and inspiration for Stephens’ characters came from and how she turned those ideas into stories.

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Laura Ashley: The Romantic Heroine

21 September 2013 - 5 January 2014

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Laura Ashley label, this exhibition encapsulated the vision of the romantic heroine that this iconic designer gave to fashion in the 1960s and 1970s.

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2013 Exhibitions

The Anglo-Saxons in the North

31 July - 31 December 2013

The Anglo-Saxon Display offered an interesting insight into the history of the Anglo-Saxons in the North East of England.

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Dolls, Bears and Robots

29 June - 8 September 2013

This child-friendly display offered an entertaining, informative and often nostalgic look at the history of toys and games, from the 19th century to the present day.

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Jeremiah Dixon: Scientist, Surveyor and Stargazer

27 April - 6 October 2013

For a man with so many talents, Jeremiah Dixon (1733-1779) of Cockfield is shockingly mis-remembered. He was a scientist, mathematician, surveyor, cartographer, astronomer and, perhaps above all, an artist, but people even get his birth date wrong. He made momentous discoveries in pursuit of scientific learning, yet the Royal Society’s own website muddles him with up with another, much less notable contemporary, Jeremiah Dixon (1725-1782) of Gledhow near Leeds.

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Tim Walker: Dreamscapes

25 May - 1 September 2013

An innovative exhibition of photographs by Tim Walker, revealing how this leading fashion photographer is a significant artist with roots in traditions of English landscape painting.

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Portrait of Mademoiselle Claus by Edouard Manet

24 April - 2 June 2013

A painting by Édouard Manet, judged to be of outstanding cultural importance, was on show at the Museum in April 2013 as part of its national tour.

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Material Remains: Diana Winkfield

16 February - 8 September 2013

Material Remains was an exhibition created specifically for The Bowes Museum’s award winning Fashion & Textile Gallery. It was the first showing of this new body of work in the UK.

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Rokeby: Poetry and Landscape; Walter Scott and Turner in Teesdale

26 January - 28 April 2013

This exhibition marked the bicentenary of the publication of Scott’s epic poem, Rokeby, a thrilling tale of star crossed lovers, ghosts and treasure, set against the backdrop of the English Civil War.

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Durham County Council Open Art Competition

2 March - 7 April 2013

This was the fifth year that Durham County Council had staged the open art exhibition, which over the years had grown from strength to strength. The exhibition is now an established annual event that the council has provided to give local artists a platform and opportunity to showcase their work.

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Titanic Legacy

1 December 2012 - 27 January 2013

To mark the Centenary Year of the launch of the titanic, students from the Fashion Marketing Degree Course at Northumbria Design were asked to explore and research past historical style in order to produce contemporary, forward thinking design as a response to the ‘Titanic Legacy’ that embraced luxury and opulence.

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Beyond Bagpuss - an Artist's Journey

20 October 2012 - 17 February 2013

Artist Linda Birch, illustrator of Bagpuss & The Clangers, had an exhibition of her work at The Bowes Museum, where she holds regular painting classes.

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Feast your Eyes: The Fashion of Food in Art

6 October 2012 - 6 January 2013

Celebrating the representation of food over the past five centuries, Feast your Eyes explorde fashions in food and drink throughout Europe from the 16th to the 21st Century.

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Lucile - Fashion Designer, Titanic Survivor

14 April 2012 - 6 January 2013

This special display featured a dress designed by Lucile which spotlights both the glamorous and dangerous worlds of 1912.

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2012 Exhibitions

Teesdale Open Studios

8 September - 7 October 2012

This was a chance to see examples of work by all 22 artists taking part in Teesdale Open Studios 2012 then head out to meet the artists in their studios.

Keith Coventry 'Black Bronze White Slaves'

14 July - 16 September 2012

The first exhibition to focus exclusively on the bronze sculptures of celebrated artist Keith Coventry.

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Joséphine Bowes & The Costumier

25 June - 6 July 2012

Luca Costigliolo, an internationally celebrated theatrical and historical costumier, re-created the ball gown that Joséphine Bowes is wearing in her portrait seen in the John & Joséphine galleries.

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Our Sporting Life

9 June - 27 August 2012

Our Sporting Life was a unique and ambitious national celebration of British Sport, with 100 exhibitions being held all over Britain to salute sport from the grass roots to the Olympic podia. Its aim was to raise the profile of the UK’s sports heritage through a programme of nationwide community exhibitions showcasing objects, stories and photographs that relate the development of Great British Sport in the lead up to the Olympics.

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Stephen Jones: From Georgiana to Boy George

19 May - 2 September 2012

One of British Fashion’s best loved characters, whose client list boasts style icons such as French First Lady Carla Bruni alongside pop divas Madonna and Kylie Minogue, exhibited a selection of his stunning creations at The Bowes Museum.

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Complicidades: Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera

12 May - 24 June 2012

The Bowes Museum was the only UK venue to be included in the European tour of this photographic exhibition featuring prominent 20th century Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera.

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El Greco In Focus: The Tears of St Peter

31 March - 29 April 2012

This exhibition was designed to tell and illustrate the Easter story for Christians and Non-Christians, centred on the famous painting by El Greco of ‘The Tears of St.Peter’, bought by John and Joséphine Bowes in the 19th century. The aim was to show it in a religious context, rather than an art historical context. Formerly unseen works by Spanish artists such as José Antolinez (1635-1675) and Angelo Nardi (1584-1663/5) were on view, as well as marble sculptures from the reserve collections. There was a special section for children, designed to explain the story in a family friendly way.

June Crisfield Chapman: Wood Engravings

4 February - 13 May 2012

Artist, lecturer and writer June Crisfield Chapman is also an experienced wood engraver whose work in this medium was the focus of an exhibition. June follows two main themes in her engravings: plant forms and characters from literature and the theatre. Her awareness of the dramatic possibilities of working in black and white and of the form that is achievable by clear, clean line is the essential nature of her engraving. She finds fascination and inspiration in the various forms of plants, as well as the myth and folklore surrounding medicinal plants. Theatre subjects have also captivated her since she first became enamoured by transformation scenes in pantomimes.

Study, Design & Create: The 98 Lace Group

28 January - 15 April 2012

An exhibition of stunning works of art by some of the UK’s greatest makers of contemporary lace. The Study, Design and Create exhibition was inspired by the Museum’s historically significant Blackborne Lace Collection, one of the finest collections of antique lace anywhere in the world. The exhibition was organised in response to a surge in interest in lace, with collections by designers like McQueen, Dior and Valentino as well as the Sarah Burton dress worn by Kate Middleton at her wedding to Prince William earlier that year.

Charles Dickens' 200th Anniversary: Model House

28 January - 31 December 2012

A display of Dickens-related objects to mark the anniversary, including an exceptional scale model of his house at 48 Doughty Street in London (now the Dickens House Museum). This came complete with room settings – including Dickens’ study – in fine detail. It has been loaned by Margaret Watson, a Friend of The Bowes Museum, who painstakingly put it together over many years, with assistance from a variety of local craftsmen and specialists in miniatures. The display also featured a long case clock made in the 19th century by Thomas Humphreys Clockmakers of Barnard Castle: the shop was visited by Dickens and inspired him to name his new weekly Master Humphrey’s Clock. There were also ledgers from the grim boarding establishments known as the Yorkshire Schools – including Shaw’s Academy at nearby Bowes Village, depicted by Dickens as “Dotheboys Hall”. A unique oil painting by Phiz of a scene from Nicholas Nickleby had been loaned by a private collector for the display.

Paquin Winter 1911 - the Centenary of an Evening Gown

3 December 2011 - 9 April 2012

A rare and beautiful evening gown was the subject of this display, taking visitors back one hundred years, to the aristocratic lifestyle of 1911, as portrayed in ITV’s Downton Abbey. The dress was created by French fashion designer Madame Paquin, known for her modern and innovative designs. Credited with being the first female couturier, in the early 1900s she had a prestige equal to that of The House of Worth, clothing the wealthy elite.

Dutch Landscapes: Paintings from the Royal Collection

12 November 2011 - 11 March 2012

This exhibition brought together 38 remarkable works from the ‘golden age’ of Dutch painting, generously lent by Her Majesty The Queen.

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At the Heart of Progress: Coal, Iron and Steam since 1750

17 September 2011 - 15 January 2012

John P. Eckblad worked as a management consultant to large petrochemical complexes on Teesside in north-eastern England and in northern Europe. In northern England in about 1974, he purchased his first print of what has become a significant collection of works on paper depicting various aspects of the Industrial Revolution and of the progress of industry.The exhibition explored this remarkable collection, assembled over the last three and-a-half decades by John P. Eckblad on the subject of work and industry - focussing on heavy industry – the trinity of coal, iron, and steam. Between the 1750s and the 1950s that trinity, beginning as an exotic addition to human life, progressed to an all-encompassing framework for civilization. It did not begin the industrial revolution but it drastically changed the scale and pace of industrial development, transforming the economy, the appearance, and the culture of Europe and America during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

2011 Exhibitions

Between the Lines

20 August - 20 November 2011

A unique exhibition of textile sculptures created by textile artist Naseem Darbey. The display was a dramatic showcase of her techniques with theatrical shadow sculptures, inspired by the exciting but short life of fashionable socialite Mary Louise Roosevelt Burke Butterfield. As an artist and visual storyteller, Naseem explored the relationship between drawing and textiles. Through direct observation she created ‘hollow’ drawings and 3D installations using stitchwork. Her unique and complex works commenced with her drawing directly with a sewing machine, before they are eventually transformed into three-dimensional sculptures each telling their own unique story.

Amazing Egyptians

2 July - 31 August 2011

An exhibition aimed at families, exploring the customs and traditions surrounding life and death in Ancient Egypt. You could follow the journey to the afterlife from the magical spells and the strange superstitions to the bandaging of bodies and the fascinating burials. With treasures abounding and organs galore, this exhibition promised to give visitors a real taste of how the Ancient Egyptians saw the afterlife.

Vivienne Westwood Shoes: A World Wide Exhibition

10 June - 10 July 2011

This exhibition celebrated the ingenuity and creativity of British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, focusing on her designs of the ultimate fetish object: the shoe.

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Painting Flowers: Fantin-Latour and the Impressionists

16 April - 9 October 2011

Flower power was the theme running through the first large scale show in Britain to celebrate the still life paintings of Henri Fantin-Latour.

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K3TOG: Knit Three Together

5 March - 2 May 2011

Needles could be heard clicking away as we indulged in a ‘knitfest.’.The Museum’s Keeper of Textiles, Joanna Hashagen, had been casting on to offer a display of vintage knitwear, demonstrations and workshops under the collective title K3TOG.Meaning Knit Three Together, K3TOG brought these three strands together: the Museum’s knit collection + people + demonstrations and workshops to equal a focus on all things knitting.

Damien Hirst: Print Maker

5 November 2010 - 27 February 2011

Following a £12m refurbishment, The Bowes Museum brought a global name to the Barnard Castle treasure house with the opening of this exhibition.

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A Garden of Lantern Birds Museumaker

20 October 2010 - 30 January 2011

As part of the national museumaker project the Museum commissioned work by maker Laura Baxter. Laura is a craftsperson who uses metals, glass and wood to create jewellery, lighting and decorative installations, combining hand craftsmanship with modern laser and water jet cutting technologies and unique shape memory alloys. Laura created a Garden of Lantern Birds, inspired by bird images from all sectors of the Museum’s collection, using flat powder-coated steel. The lanterns were displayed in the parterre garden. Inspired by the Museum’s Blackborne Lace collection, each bird displayed a filigree pattern, lit by an integral light source. As darkness fell the delicacy of lace was revealed in each lantern bird. Laura also lead a series of free creative workshops, involving young adults, throughout the period of the exhibition.

2010 Exhibitions

Teesdale Open Studios

23 October - 7 November 2010

Examples of work were put on show at The Bowes Museum by 22 artists that took part in Teesdale Open Studios 2012. There was also the opportunity to head out to meet the artists in their studios during Teesdale Open Studios itself.

The Bronze Swan & Other Animal Sculptures

4 July - 10 October 2010

A retrospective exhibition of the work of internationally acclaimed animal sculptor Sally Arnup, which featured bronzes of a wide range of animal and birds. The complicated process of making a bronze was explained within the exhibition and the works were for sale.

Northern Light Celebrating the Landscape of the Northern Dales

22 May - 20 June 2010

This exhibition was part of the annual Swaledale Festival, which, for the first time in its 30 year history, extended its activities into Barnard Castle.Taking the local landscape as inspiration, each student was paired up with one of 15 professional artists, who acted as mentors and gave guidance during the preparation of the pictures.

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British Sporting Art

11 May - 10 Oct 2010

This exhibition explored the genre of Sporting Art in Britain, from horseracing and hunting to boxing, footballand cricket. Central to the theme of the exhibition, which included works by George Stubbs, Sir Alfred Munnings and George Morland, was John Bowes, the founder of the Museum and the first man to lift the renowned Triple Crown.

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A Warning To Heretics

23 January - 7 March 2010

One of the oldest and most intriguing paintings in The Bowes Museum’s collection was the focal point of this display. The small panel, A Miracle of the Sacrament by Sassetta, painted in Siena c1423-25, has a dramatic tale to tell. It shows a cleric, struck dead as he is offered the Host during Mass. Even more dramatically, a devil swoops down to snatch his soul as it leaves his body.

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Goya's Prison: the Year of Despair

3 October 2009 - 11 May 2010

Late in 1792 Goya became severely ill, and even though he eventually recovered he was left profoundly deaf for the rest of his days. During a period of recuperation he produced a set of small cabinet paintings on tin plate that were to define the rest of his career.The Bowes Museum’s Interior of a Prison is one of this series of works, and the Museum’s Director, Adrian Jenkins, explored the story behind the picture created during this monumental moment in Goya’s life.

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Canaletto and the View Painters of Venice

14 February 2009 - 31 March 2010

An exploration of the Museum’s two famous large Canaletto’s saved for the nation in 1980 by The Art Fund; Regatta on the Grand Canal and The Bucintoro Returning to the Molo. Displayed alongside other pieces of Venetian art from the Museum’s collections, the exhibition explored, topographical painting in Venice, Canaletto and his influences, his market in France and England; the provenance of the paintings and exactly what was depicted in his works.

Turner in Teesdale

13 December 2008 - 31 January 2010

This display featured the Bowes Tower, produced to illustrate Sir Walter Scott’s epic poem Rokeby, alongside other acquisitons obtained by the Museum. Summer sketching tours were part of Turner’s annual routine and he first travelled the North of England in 1797, making sketches in Yorkshire, Durham and Northumberland. During the 1830s he produced designs to illustrate volumes of poetry by some of his most celebrated contemporaries including Sir Walter Scott, author of the epic poem Rokeby, which is set in the countryside between Rokeby Park and Barnard Castle. Bowes Tower acted as the frontispiece to Volume Nine of Scott’s poetry.

2009 Exhibitions

Toys Tales

9 May - 1 November 2009

Visitors to The Bowes Museum could wallow in a trip down memory lane at this major Toy Tales exhibition.

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Beautifully Crafted

25 October 2008 - 22 February 2009

A contemporary craft exhibition at the National Glass Centre, Sunderland, featured items from The Bowes Museum’s collections, contrasting the old and new. Single pieces by contemporary artists were on show at The Bowes Museum; Bede’s World, Jarrow, and MIMA, Middlesbrough, creating an ‘art trail.’

Faith and Love: Picturing the Bible From Raphael To El Greco

11 October 2008 - 16 January 2009

A prestigious exhibition which explored many of the most popular Bible stories visualized by Western artists and craftsmen. Faith and Love: Picturing the Bible from Raphael to El Greco included important paintings and artefacts from the Museum’s world class collection of European art as well as loans from national collections.

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Alfred Sisley: Impressionist Landscapes

17 May 2008 - 16 January 2009

The work of Alfred Sisley was on show; the first major exhibition devoted to this leading Impressionist to take place outside London in half a century.

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2008 Exhibitions

Teesdale Open Studios

8 October - 1 November 2008

This was the first ever Teesdale Open Studios, where artists around the dale welcomed visitors to their studios, with the Museum acting as a central hub, featuring a piece of work from each. A lecture by Brian Sewell formally opened the event. This lecture sold out.

Nature's Delights

17 May - 22 September 2008

Nature’s Delights included a selection of wildlife paintings by Charles Frederick Tunnicliffe, who introduced a wider audience to the countryside with his illustrations for Ladybird’s popular series What to Look for in Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter and The Farm. Tunnicliffe created some of his best loved images when producing a series of wood-engravings for the 1932 edition of Tarka the Otter. The popular Brooke Bond Tea cards, which were collected by millions of British youngsters in the 50s and 60s, also featured his talents. His work was complemented in this display by that of Archibald Thorburn, John Cyril Harrison and their contemporaries. Thorburn received much of his early training from his father, a leading miniature painter and favourite of Queen Victoria, from whom he inherited his eye for detail. In 1927 he was elected Vice President of the RSPB in recognition of his services to bird preservation. As a young man Harrison studied and sketched birds, learning anatomy from the practise of taxidermy. His study of birds included travels to Scotland, Iceland and Africa, resulting in his illustrations featuring in prestigious publications of the day. He lived for many years in Norfolk, where he painted the rare birds of the Broads and game birds in their natural surroundings. Through the precise study of anatomy and the accurate depiction of the landscape these artists capture the drama and action of birds hunting their prey, the tranquillity of a wading snipe to the extraordinary display of magpies roosting. This collection of wildlife paintings was donated to the Museum in 1984 by Miss Sandra Grewcock.

Illumination: Judy Hurst

19 April - 20 July 2008

Intricate illustrative works, many inspired by objects in The Bowes Museum’s collections, formed the basis of this selling exhibition, by this North East based contemporary artist. Working with a variety of materials, both traditional and modern, Judy’s work is inspired by her knowledge, respect and deep love of the architecture, ceramic work, Celtic history and wildlife of Britain and France. Using gold leaf and sumptuous colour applied to vellum, paper and canvas, she creates spiritually compelling images, often with symbolic underlying themes – red for the blood of life, green for youth and rebirth, blue for heaven and aspirations, and gold for eternity.

Eddie Ryle Hodges 1939 - 2001

9 February - 26 May 2008

A retrospective of this acclaimed 20th century Teesdale based photographer, featuring landscapes, fashion photographs, portraits and more.

Elijah Yeoman 1849 - 1930

9 February - 15 June 2008

A tribute to the renowned 19th and 20th century Teesdale photographer. An eclectic record of Barnard Castle and the dale.


19 January - 6 April 2008

The Bowes Museum offered visitors a taste of the Orient with a special showcased display of objects celebrating the influence of Chinese design, to acknowledge the year of the Beijing Olympics. Ceramics from the Museum’s significant collections were on show, highlighting pieces depicting the Chinoiserie influence as well as objects in other media which illustrate this distinctive style. The term Chinoiserie comes from the word ‘chinois’, the French for Chinese. It was a style inspired by art and design from China, Japan and other Asian countries that was at its height from 1750 to 1765. Imported porcelain, silk and lacquerware from China and Japan became extremely fashionable, leading European designers to imitate the style or create fanciful imagery of an imaginary China. Chinoiserie media also includes ‘japanned’ ware, an imitation of the glossy lacquer surface favoured in Japan. The selection of ceramics on show featured the ever-popular ‘Willow’ pattern alongside examples of English and French porcelain resplendent with oriental imagery. Other items included an embroidery panel, an oil painting and a stylish gilt-bronze fish. The display was complemented by The Road to Xanadu in which Dr Barbara Morden examined the taste for the Oriental from the 17th to the 19th Centuries. This illustrated lecture explored the impact of travellers’ tales and artefacts from the Orient on the art and taste of Britain between those dates.

The Art of Botanics

15 December 2007 - 16 January 2008

An exhibition of contemporary textiles inspired by plants to coincide with the exhibition Emile Gallé and The Origins of Art Nouveau. This exhibition explored plants and their continued inspiration to designers. It displayed textiles created by second year students on the BA (Hons) Textiles and Surface Design programme at Cleveland College of Art and Design in Hartlepool. These contemporary textiles were displayed in the historic setting of The Bowes Museum including the English Period Rooms.The students' assignment was to produce an individual piece based on plant forms. They drew on historic and contemporary sources including museums, magazines and paintings for inspiration. They then produced a wide body of work, from sketches to models, which contributed to the final piece. These sketches and models were included as part of the exhibition, to illustrate the design process.Cleveland College of Art and Design's award-winning BA (Hons) Textiles and Surface Design degree programme maintains its excellent reputation for producing creative professionals with a sophisticated awareness of contemporary design, market requirements and professional practice alongside the traditional skills of drawing, colour and technical expertise.

Emile Gallé and the Origins of Art Nouveau

29 September 2007 - 20 January 2008

The Bowes Museum’s collections include an early commission from Gallé, a glass cabaret set made in 1872 to order for Joséphine Bowes. It formed the starting point for this exploration of Art Nouveau.

Taylor Made

29 September 2007 - 20 January 2008

Complementing the Gallé display, this was a selling exhibition of contemporary furniture and designs for the home, by Alex Taylor.

2007 Exhibitions

The Avison Workbooks

6 October - 25 November 2007

Mrs Mary Bowes, great-grandmother of John Bowes, was a patron of the Newcastle based 18th century composer Charles Avison. These manuscripts were dedicated to her with music from them being performed at the Museum on 24 November 2007.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II An 80th Birthday Portrait

16 June - 28 July 2007

This acclaimed painting of The Queen, created before a BBC One television audience of millions, visited The Bowes Museum.

Watercolours and Drawings from The Collection of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother

19 May - 2 September 2007

73 watercolours and drawings dating from the 18th to the 20th centuries, including Gainsborough, Augustus John and John Piper. Some were bought at auction, some purchased during World War II to raise money for the war effort, others were gifts from the artists or commissioned by The Queen Mother. A touring exhibition curated by The Royal Collection, on loan from Her Majesty the Queen.

Revealed: Luxury Goods and the Slave Trade

23 March - 29 June 2007

To mark the bicentenary of the Parliamentary abolition of the transatlantic slave trade, there was display of fine and decorative arts which traced the demand for luxury goods. Public conservation of View of Amsterdam by Abraham Storck (1635-1710) revealed its full story. Conservation took place every Tuesday from 1.30. For Further information please see:

Fine & Fashionable: Lace from The Blackborne Collection

9 September 2006 - 29 Apr 2007

Fine & Fashionable featured one of the world's largest collections of lace. It was put together in the 19th century by the father and son, Anthony and Arthur Blackborne.

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2006 Exhibitions

Impressionist Women

3 June - 13 August 2006

This national loan exhibition was built around the exciting acquisition by The Bowes Museum, of a portrait by the impressionist painter Paul Helleu. It explored the life of Helleu and other Impressionist artists such as Degas and whistler, and examined the portrayal of society women in late 19th century art.

On The Horizon, Out Of Reach

11 February - 17 April 2006

This selling exhibition of contemporary landscape paintings was by regional artist Sue Lawson, who works in the Romantic English tradition, referencing Turner, Constable and the Impressionists.

Turner: Tours of Durham and Richmondshire

28 January - 14 May 2006

This major exhibition, curated by The Bowes Museum, explored JMW Turner’s stunning watercolours of the North of England. Paintings of Durham and Richmondshire were accompanied by other fascinating works including depictions of Farnley Hall in Yorkshire and Brinkburn Priory in Northumberland. A highlight was Turner’s watercolour of Barnard Castle, which returned to the UK from the Unites states especially for this exhibition.

A Gardener's Labyrinth: Portraits of People, Plants and Places

19 November 2005 - 19 February 2006

This exhibition had toured from the National Portrait Gallery.

Teesdale Landscapes and Livelihoods in Textiles

19 November 2005 - 1 March 2006

The colourful textile exhibition, produced by local community groups, told the story of the landscape, industries and lifestyles that shaped the dale.

Marie-Antoinette: Queen of Style

29 October 2005 - 26 February 2006

This exhibition celebrated the 250th anniversary of this famous Queen’s birth through objects from The Bowes Museum’s collection.

Napoleon: Art & Empire in the Age of Trafalgar

27 August 2005 - 8 January 2006

Intriguing insights into the Napoleonic era were shown in public for the first time. Also featured were works from the British Museum and the National Gallery, the exhibition coincided with the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.

2005 Exhibitions

Sense & Sensibility Cotman: Watercolours of Durham and Yorkshire

7 May - 31 July 2005

Nineteenth century painter John Sell Cotman continues to inspire generations of artists. From collections all over Britain, his stunning landscapes were brought together in the exhibition, which focused on paintings of the countryside surrounding The Bowes Museum. (In association with Harewood House, Leeds).

Raphael: Madonna of the Pinks The Virgin and Child in Renaissance Italy

16 April - 26 June 2005

This exquisite masterpiece acquired amidst huge publicity, and two accompanying works by Titian and Ghirlandaio, were on tour from the National Gallery, London.

Sudan: Ancient Treasures

12 March - 30 October 2005

This major exhibition offered a unique insight into the lives and cultural history of the inhabitants of the ancient Kingdoms of the Nile. It was on tour from the Sudan National Museum, Khartoum via via the British Museum, where it was shown to great acclaim. The exhibition included recent discoveries from excavations in Sudan.

Norman Parkinson: Portraits in Fashion

5 February - 5 June 2005

The dynamic selection of Parkinson’s fashion photography from the National Gallery Collection, concentrated on the styles and glamour of the 1950s. This exhibition was accompanied by fashionable dress of the era taken from The Bowes Museum’s own collection.

Boucher: Landscapes

22 January - 28 March 2005

Featured a selection of paintings and drawings by acclaimed eighteenth century artist François Boucher. (in association with the Wallace Collection, London).

Distance No Object

25 September 2004 - 23 January 2005

This was a lively exhibition by Lubaina Himid and other leading contemporary artists. A mixture of painting, furniture and installations, responded to the magical history of The Bowes Museum.

Toulouse-Lautrec and the Art of the French Poster

11 September 2004 - 23 January 2005

This nationally acclaimed exhibition contained some of the most striking posters ever created by Toulouse-Lautrec and his contemporaries. These works, mostly depicting late nineteenth century Parisian life, were originally exhibited at the first international poster exhibition in London in 1894.

2004 Exhibitions


10 July - 12 September 2004

This exhibition was produced by the Yorkshire Sculptors Group. The active group of artists produced a range of mixed media sculptures for this challenging and thought provoking contemporary show.

In the Footsteps of El Greco

12 June - 12 September 2004

Respected regional artist Anthony Clark had created new work for this major show. This body of work had been inspired by Clark’s recent visits to Spain, Italy and Greece and by several artists in The Bowes Museum’s collection including El Greco and Goya.

Boudin, Monet and the Sea Painters of Normandy

29 May - 30 August 2004

This major exhibition explored the relationship between Boudin and Monet and their interaction with other French painters working in Normandy during the second half of the 19th century. Paintings by Boudin, Dumax and Noël were featured from The Bowes Museum collection alongside international loans from Britain, France and the USA.

Braids and Beyond: A Broad Look at Narrow Wares

3 April - 27 June 2004

This exhibition marked the 10th anniversary of The Braid Society. It looked at all types of narrow wares from military braids to mousetraps and celebrated the diverse world of braids and bands made for utilitarian purpose and decorative effect.

Grand Designs

3 April - 31 May 2004

This exhibition looked at how the notable grand gardens of the North East were created and the personalities behind them. From competitions in pineapple growing to commissioning sweeping landscapes, these wealthy industrialists changed the face of many parts of the region. Unfortunately many of these gardens fell into disrepair and some even disappeared. The exhibition also looked at issues of conservation, regeneration and the re-use and relevance of great gardens today. It featured the Museum’s own grounds and asked you how best they should be developed. Guest curated by Landscape Historian, Fiona Green.

After Life

17 January - 21 March 2004

Simon Morrissey, awarded the first Bowes Fellowship, curated this thought provoking exhibition. Contemporary artists explored attitudes towards mortality, and related ideas of remembrance, and related ideas of remembrance, preservation and transformation.

Lindisfarne Gospels

15 December 2003 - 11 January 2004

This was a chance to see the superb new copy of the greatest illustrated book to come out of the North east, by permission of The British Library.

Our Choice

28 November 2003 - 11 January 2004

This exhibition had been produced by the after Schools Club at The Bowes Museum and was a collection of children’s interpretation of their favourite paintings from The Tim Rice Collection.

Images 27

8 November 2003 - 2 January 2004

Was from a selection of contemporary illustrations from books, children’s books, magazines and newspapers, by the association of Illustrators.

William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement in the North East

11 October 2003 - 29 February 2004

This stunning exhibition celebrated the work of William Morris and his contemporaries, leaders of the Arts and Crafts Movement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A major section of this exhibition explored new ground in featuring artists, designers, craft workers and patrons of the North East, whose creative activity in the same period showed the extent of Morris’ influence on regional artists and the impressive way in which they responded to it.

The Tim Rice Collection

5 July 2003 - 11 January 2004

Masterpieces from the private collection of Sir Tim Rice, one of Britain’s most celebrated lyricists. Sir Tim, who is well known for works such as Evita, Chess and Jesus Christ Superstar loaned over fifty paintings to The Bowes Museum for this remarkable exhibition, which included pictures by Degas, Hockney, Picasso, Pissarro, Warhol and Waterhouse.

2003 Exhibitions

Dazzling:The Art of Glass Engraving

14 June - 26 October 2003

This was a spectacular collection of engraved glass work by the Northern Branch of the Guild of Glass Engravers.

Haiku & Glass

14 June - 26 September 2003

Haiku poets and glass artists inspired each other to create an unusual and captivating display. Curated by Dominic Fonde.

Wedding Belles: A Celebration of Bridal Gowns through the Ages

24 May - 18 April 2003

This exhibition explored the history of bridal fashion since the mid19th century. Exquisite gowns from the Museum’s extensive wedding dress collection illustrated changing styles, colours and fabrics over the decades.A series of charming period fashion illustrations, which once belonged to Joséphine Bowes, created an elegant backdrop to the bridal gowns on display.

The Art of Marquetry: Paintings in Wood

18 April - 28 September 2003

The history of this intricate woodworking technique was explored through The Bowes Museum’s furniture collection with contemporary pieces, which demonstrated how the art form remains highly desirable today. Produced in collaboration with The Wallace Collection, London.

Meridiano de Greenwich

5 April - 1 June 2003

Six outstanding Spanish and English contemporary painters established a rich cultural dialogue through expensive abstract art for this amazing exhibition. The Bowes Museum has long established links with Spain and houses one of the largest collections of Spanish paintings in Britain. It was therefore appropriate that we hosted this exciting international exhibition, which was on tour from the Conde Duque, Gallery in Madrid.

Are you Sitting Comfortably?: the Water Closet Workshop

5 April - 20 July 2003

In this exhibition household objects changed into the unexpected. The humble domestic WC is something we almost ignore because of its intimate familiarity, yet in this exhibition it was transformed by fourteen international artists from its everyday functional role into an art form! The ceramists, sculptors and painters worked on the factory floor to produce this stunning and thought provoking array of subverted or modified versions of mundane sanity ware. Was on tour from The Hatton Gallery.

Road to Impressionism

2 November 2002 - 30 March 2003

This exhibition showed one of the largest groups of French Impressionist paintings to come to the North East. Outstanding works by artists such as Renoir, Monet, Pissarro and Sisley were represented.

2002 Exhibitions

The Uncanny Room

12 October - 8 December 2002

Seemingly familiar objects became the unfamiliar-uncanny, disturbing. Two London Curators. Touring Show.

Royal Sugar Sculpture

1 June - 22 September 2002

An elaborate recreation of early 19th century ceremonial table setting, using a unique set of moulds being bought by the Museum – created by Ivan Day and Peter Brears. Also examples of 16th, 17th and 18th century sugarpaste sculpture and table settings. Plus large display of modern sugarcraft – exhibits chosen via competition in Cakes & Sugarcraft magazine.

The Art of Mining

29 Mar - 12 May 2002

Historic Watercolours record of the Northern Coalfields. From the Hatton Gallery, Newcastle.

At Home with Art

2 February - 17 March 2002

Domestic Objects with a twist. Touring Show.

A Sense of Occasion

1 December 2001 - 13 January 2002

This was newly commissioned work by 20 artists created to mark special occasions defining contemporary 'British' society

Serving Time

27 October 2001 - 10 February 2002

How religion and ritual impacts on young offenders 'time' in HMYOI Deerbolt.

Fancy Footwear

28 July 2001 - 14 April 2002

Historic shoes and boots from the collection.

2001 Exhibitions

Hitec Lotec

13 October - 25 November 2001

Explored the relationship between craft & industry, new technologies and materials.

Royal Milliners

19 May - 30 September 2001

Designers of royal headwear, their lives and designs particularly the Queen Mother's hats.

Conserving for the Future

28 April - 22 July 2001

Techniques, materials and reasons why conservation is a vital part of a museum's work.

Hidden Treasures of The Bowes Museum

7 April - 9 September 2001

Variety of unseen, unusual, newly conserved or unique works from the collection connected by the John and Josephine story.


25 March - 6 May 2001

A selection of costume jewellery from the collection.

60s Ceramics

27 January - 22 April 2001

Studio pottery of the 60s, a Schools Museum service collection, now valuable and to be conserved.

2000 Exhibitions

The New Generic

22 September - 11 November 2000

Modern Items for the home from the Evans and Wong catologue, Paris.

Fifty Years of Friendship

4 August - 5 November 2000

Exhibition devoted to the history of the Friends.

Northern Quilts

4 August - 5 November 2000

Vase Madness: Wedgwood from Winnington

23 April - 23 July 2000

Through Young Eyes

6 April - 23 July 2000

Art created in conjunction with schools.

50s Frocks

22 January - 14 August 2000

The Art of Building/ The New Museum

1 November 1999 - 9 January 2000

To Oudenaarde and Back

23 October 1999 - 2 January 2000


1999 Exhibitions


24 July 1999 - 31 October 1999

Modern Crafts.

Weeds, Aliens and other Stories

24 July - 31 October 1999

An exhibition of conceptual garden furniture from the ICA.

Good Food in the North

1 May - 11 July 1999

Exhibition of work from Teesdale Comprehensive School.

What's New Pussycat

15 March - 30 October 1999

60s Collection.


15 November 1998 - 15 April 1999

British Masterpieces: Paintings from the Royal Collection

1 November 1998 - 5 April 1999

1998 Exhibitions

Embroiderers at The Bowes Museum

18 October - 7 November 1998

Architectural Images of the North

18 September - 30 November 1998

Drawings and Photographs from the RIBA, 1700 1950.

Pills, Poultices and Potions

5 August - 2 September 1998

2000 Years of Medicine.

Spirit of the Times

14 July - 4 October 1998

Modern Crafts throughout the Museum

Composites: Furniture by David Arnold

20 June - 30 August 1998

Triumph in Adversity: The Birth of Samson

4 April - 7 June 1998

The rebirth of an important tapestry

The European Landscape

11 February - 22 March 1998

Landscape paintings from The Bowes Museum formerly exhibited at the Durham Art Gallery.

Mine's a McGuinness

18 October 1997 - 1 February 1998

Paintings by Tom McGuinness

1997 Exhibitions

James Alder: Birds and Flowers of the castles of Mey and Balmoral

13 September- 5 October 1997

Ik Song Jin

19 July - 31 July 1997

Modern Artist from Korea

Art of the Theatre

28 June - 31 August 1997

A loan exhibition of material from the Royal Shakespeare Company.


24 May - 15 June 1997

An installation of video and music devised by Spennymoor.

Artists in Teesdale

29 March - 11 May 1997

An exhibition of work by artists and craftspeople working in Teesdale today.

North Country Quilts and Knitting sticks

22 March - 11 May 1997

People and Patterns

21 September 1996 - 31 March 1997

1996 Exhibitions

Fashions from the Time of Jane Austen

6 July -18 August 1996

Costume from the collection, and replicas from the film 'Sense and Sensibility'.

Walking the Landscape: With Cotman and Turner in Teesdale

25 May - 1 September 1996

Private View

3 May - 28 July 1996

British and European artists integrated into the collection.

Flesh and Spirit: Velasquez and Painting in 17th Century Madrid

30 March - 2 June 1996

1995 Exhibitions


16 August - 29 October 1995

Reduced version of Laing Art Gallery exhibition

The Bowes of Streatlam and Gibside

28 May - 3 September 1995

A survey of the family and their collections.

1994 Exhibitions

Stars in Your Eyes

17 September - 31 December 1994

Costumes from Granada television in aid of Save the Children.

Purchases, Prices and People

28 May - 31 December 1994

Recent acquisitions for the collection.

The Tempting Table

28 April - 31 December 1994

European Table Layout and Decoration.

Watercolours by Chris Mouncey

1 April - 15 May 1994


26 December 1993 - 6 March 1994

Reduced Version of the Laing Art Gallery Exhibition.

1992 Exhibitions

Mick Critchlow photographs and Suzie Balazs paper art

25 September - 31 October 1992

Art from Teesdale

19 September - 1 November 1992

Local Crafts.

Royal Style

26 June - 13 September 1992

Dresses from the Queen Mother.

Japan Festival Tapestry

1 April - 29 April 1992

Paintings by Josephine Bowes

7 March - 13 September 1992

Images of Teesdale

9 November 1991 - 16 February 1992

Photographs by Elijah Yeoman (1846 - 1930).

1991 Exhibitions

Japan Festival

13 September - 27 October 1991

An exhibition of Japanese works of art in the Museum collection and also an exhibition by Sian Bowen of 'Mosha - the art of copy'. Later to be toured to Berwick Museum and Art Gallery and Durham University.

Restored to View

1 May - 30 September 1991

Exhibition of items conserved during the past 10 years.

Northern Quilts

23 March - 12 May 1991

Recent acquisitions of quilts from The Bowes Museum collection. Quilting demonstration, a book signing by Amy Emms M.B.E and a quilting workshop took place.

1990 Exhibitions

The Road to the Past

1 October - 28 February 1990

Photographic display of work during the summer on the A66 excavations.

European Week

17 September - 21 September 1990

A special display to illustrate the Museum's European connections was mounted at the Dolphin Centre, Darlington. During the week a publicity and information desk was manned by staff.

A Dress by Lucille

Sun 02 Sep 90 - Sun 30 Sep 90

Worn by Linda Morritt for her marriage in 1912 to William Rhodes Moorhouse V.C.

Wild and Cultivated: Teesdale's Plants and Gardens

26 May - 27 October 1990

This exhibition, mounted by The Bowes Museum, was a survey of the dozen historic and private landscaped parks and gardens in Teesdale as well as Teesdale's landscape and rare alpine flora, which has attracted visitor's from the 17th century. The exhibition ran in tandem with the National Garden Festival in Gateshead.

Hyacinth Display

1 Apr - 31 May 1990

A Hyacinth Display was in The Bowes Museum park and display of rare hyacinths form Wycliffe Hall Botanical Gardens in the Museum.

A Visit to the Costumier

1 April - 30 April 1990

A small display of costume made by dressmakers in the North-East 1876-1911.

Northern Quilts and Covers

10 March - 13 May 1990

A selection from the permanent collection with recent acquisitions and loans, including quilts made by quilting groups.

The Bowes School

11 November 1989 - 25 February 1990

Works by County Durham schoolchildren based on the Museum collections.

A66 Excavation

9 October 1989 - 31 October 1990

A display showing archaeological excavation being carried out on the A66 at Stainmore pass, before work began on making the road a dual carriageway. Children from Bowes School have also made a contribution with their ideas of Erik Bloodaxe.

1989 Exhibitions

Portraits and Other Works

16 September - 29 October 1989

An exhibition by Malcolm Partridge of formal portraits, landscapes, still-lifes and animal paintings and a group of ceramic and silver designs.

Vive la Nation

27 May - 3 September 1989

An exhibition to commemorate the bicentenary of the French Revolution.

Open Books

24 March - 14 May 1989

A selection of rare and interesting books from the re-opened library.

Dolls Houses, Shops and Roundabouts

12 November 1988 - 28 February 1989

Dolls Houses, Shops and Roundabouts by the Gilda Workshop, Bishop Auckland organised by Mrs. Mollie Jenkins.

1988 Exhibitions

Classic Ground

17 September - 30 October 1988

An exhibition which interpreted the Teesdale landscapes through photographs, painting, sculpture and literature by two Teesdale artists and two visiting artists.

The Lambton Collection

9 July - 4 September 1988

Works of art which formed the Lambton collection including 'The Red Boy'. The insurance premium of this painting was paid by The Friends of The Bowes Museum.

Private Collection

23 April - 26 June 1988

Works of art from a Private Collection. Dutch and Flemish paintings of the 16th and 17th centuries as well as woodcarvings, alabasters and ivories from the late 15th to the 18th century.

Flying Past

13 February - 10 April 1988

An exhibition of air photographs of North east England, together with finds from excavations in County Durham. This exhibition was organised by Cleveland County Council.

Any Fool can be a Farmer

7 November 1987 - 31 January 1988

An exhibition which was organised by The Bowes Museum to look at the progress of agriculture in North east England over the past 4,000 years.

1987 Exhibitions

The Craze of the Crinoline 1855 - 1868

1 September 1987 - 30 September 1987

A new display of the full-skirted dresses worn over the crinoline, together with the various horsehair and crinoline contraptions for expanding the skirts.

Decorative Dress

1 September - 30 September 1987

A new display of embroidery as a form of decoration on clothing ranging from the Regency period to the Paris fashions of the 1920's.

German Porcelain at The Bowes Museum

27 July - 6 September 1987

An exhibition of which contained German porcelain taken mainly from the reserve collections and including the new acquisition Women with a Spinning Wheel, Meissen figure c.1745.

North Country Quilts

25 July - 28 October 1987

A selection of quilts from the Museum's own collection and for a short time on display 'The Northumbria Quilt' the latter was 'raffled' in order to raise funds for The Northumbria Historic Churches Trust.

Cycle Clips

16 May - 5 July 1987

An exhibition on the history of cycling in the north-east, organised by Tyne & Wear Museums Service and toured by the North of England Museums Service, supplemented by local loans.

Ignatius Bonomi - Durham Architect

16 May - 5 July 1987

An exhibition by The Bowes Museum to mark the bicentenary of Bonomi's birth and the publication of a study of the architect life written by Mrs. June Crosby and published by the Durham City Trust.

Chairman's Choice

8 March - 5 May 1987

An exhibition of items from the permanent collection, chosen by Sir Nicholas Goodison, Chairman of the NA-CF and Chairman of the Stock Exchange to help publicise the NA-CF.

1986 Exhibitions

Villes et Monuments de Picardie and French Porcelain from The Bowes Museum Collection

14 July - 31 August 1986

During the winter months a selection of the Museum's collection of spanish paintings and French porcelain was on display.

Lace '86

24 May - 6 July 1986

Barush Rosengarten - Weavings, Rugs and Meditation Centre

12 April - 18 May 1986

The Middleham Pendant

22 March - 20 April 1986

Fashion for Extravagance

3 March - 6 Apr 1986

Portrait of John, 10th Earl of Strathmore

3 March - 20 April 1986

1985 Exhibitions

Hutchinson's History

1 November - 30 November 1985

A display of books, manuscripts and photographs commemorating the 200th anniversary of Hutchinson's History of Durham.

The Bowes Railway

21 October 1985

John Bowes - Mystery Man of the British Turf

6 July - 2 September 1985

A Trunk Unpacked

27 April - 2 November 1985

Fifties Frocks.

Family Treasures

27 April - 16 June 1985

This exhibition was organised by The Bowes Museum at the request of the County Durham branch of the NA-CF.

Wilfred Dodd's Collection

1 April - 30 June 1985

Prehistoric stone and flint implements.

Mainly Birds

26 January - 14 April 1985

John Davies: Durham Coalfield - industry in a rural setting

19 November 1984 - 14 January 1985

An exhibition of photographs organised and toured by the Side Gallery, Newcastle.

French Upholstery

15 September 1984 - 14 January 1985

Chairs and Chaircovers from 17th and 18th century from the Bowes Museum.

1984 Exhibitions

John Wycliffe

1 August 1984

An exhibition to commemorate the 600th anniversary of John Wycliffe.

Fashion Knitwear: Claire Oates

21 July - 2 September 1984

Sir Cedric Morris (1889-1982)

25 May - 15 July 1984

Bloodstone, Plasma and Tiger's Eye

7 Apr - 13 May 84

Tyne Tees Northern Open

10 March - 1 April 1984

The Normans

3 December 1983 - 26 February 1984

1983 Exhibitions

The Bronze Age in the North

10 October - 27 November 1983

A Journey down the Tees

1 October - 31 December 1983

Quilts from the Permanent Collection

10 September - 2 October 1983

Capability Brown and the Northern Landscape

Sat 06 Aug 83 - Sun 04 Sep 83

Traditional Working Dress of Northern Landscape

11 June - 24 July 1983

Anniversary Selection

30 Apr - 5 June 83

The Bowes Museum and the Laing Art Gallery to celebrate the 80th Anniversary of the NA-CF.

Samian Pottery from Binchester

1 April - 30 June 1983

Wildlife in Art

12 March - 17 April 1983

1982 Exhibitions

Lost and Found

14 December 1982

Exhibition of objects collected by Teesdale residents.

Italian paintings from The Bowes Museum Collection

1 October - 31 October 1982

Lace in the Making

4 September - 9 October 1982

1960s Miniskirt Display

27 July 1982

Picturesque Tour of the North

17 July - 30 August 1982

David Shilling Exhibition

1 May - 11 July 1982

Temporary Display of John & Josephine Bowes archaeological acquisitions

1 May - 31 May 1982

Understanding the Durham Countryside

12 December 1981 - 31 January 1982

1981 Exhibitions

Drawing on the World

31 October - 6 December 1981

Beneath the Surface Nasty Shocks, Pleasant Surprises

5 October - 25 October 1981

The Bowes Museum Collection.

Wedding Dresses

25 July - 9 September 1981

English Watercolours from the Laing Art Gallery

11 July - 31 August 1981

70th Birthday Retrospective Exhibition - Drawings by Douglas Pittuck

22 May - 5 July 1981

Look Once, Look Twice

4 April - 1 June 1981

Field Sports

4 March - 1 April 1981

N.E.M.S touring exhibition

Treasures from the Strathmore and Bowes Archive

7 February - 1 March 1981

Organised by D.C. Archive.

The Idea of the Village

10 January - 1 February 1981

Arts Council touring exhibition.

Mines and Minerals of Teesdale & Weardale

29 November 1980 - 4 January 1981

1980 Exhibitions

Pleasure in Drawings

13 September - 2 November 1980

Town and Country in French 19th century painting

2 August - 7 September 1980

Also special displays marking H.M. Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother's connections with The Bowes Museum.

John and Josephine Bowes, Patrons of the Living Arts

20 June - 27 July 1980

The Bowes Museum's Collection.

The Colman Collection of Silver Mustard Pots

Thu 24 Apr 80 - Sun 15 Jun 80

Jardins en France 1760-1820

31 March - 18 April 1980

Children in Camera

13 February - 23 March 1980

Gannin doon the Pit Embroidered Landscapes

19 January - 17 February 1980

1979 Exhibitions

Historic Monuments in Britain

10 October - 19 November 1979

Watercolours & Prints of Barnard Castle

12 September - 19 November 1979

Dutch & Flemish Paintings

23 June - 2 September 1979

Shipley Collection.

Royal Photographic Exhibition

28 April - 16 June 1979

Paintings, Alan Tinley, Bernard Fairclough

10 March - 22 April 1979

Railway Prints and Watercolours

5 January - 4 March 1979

1978 Exhibitions

Paintings by John Bratby R.A.

25 October - 4 January 1978

Londonderry Photographs

10 July - 22 October 1978

Care and Conservation of Paintings

24 May - 2 July 1978

Etchers and Painters of late 19th/20th Century

8 April - 21 May 1978

Quilts, Coverlets and Quilting

19 November 1977 - 2 April 1978

1977 Exhibitions

Minton Pottery and Porcelain

10 September - 6 November 1977

The Bowes Museum Collection

British Watercolours

1 May - 4 September 1977

Paintings and Drawings - Clara Klinghoffer

20 March - 28 May 1977

Musical Notes and Vibrations

1 March - 30 April 1977

Science Museum.

Wedding Dresses

5 February - 20 March 1977

The Bowes Museum Collection.

Kingston Polytechnic. A Planning Survey of Barnard Castle

1 December 1976 - 28 February 1977

1976 Exhibitions

Ballet Rambert 50th Anniversary

1 October - 12 December 1976

Glass from Peter Herring Museum, Copenhagen

1 August - 8 October 1976

Destruction of the Country House

1 July - 26 July 1976

V&A Museum.

Tudor Portraits from the V&A

17 April - 27 May 1976

Pittuck Exhibition of Ullathorne's Mill

7 March - 11 April 1976

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