The Bowes Museum has the richest and most extensive collections of fine and decorative arts in the north of England. Not every object in The Bowes Museum is a masterpiece, but every object is intriguing and interesting, either by virtue of its quality or history, which can often be traced in the archive. John and Joséphine collected extensively and wisely in the 19th century; the later additions in the 20th and 21st centuries saw the same interest and knowledge applied to a wider range of collections, which have considerably enriched John and Joséphine’s choice into the fields of English decorative arts, local history and archaeology. There is thus always something more to be said or researched about its existing collections; in addition, the museum occasionally adds to its collections if finances and quality allow. In recent years, we have looked closely at our paintings by Goya and Canaletto; considered John and Joséphine’s purchases of modern art in Second Empire Paris and set them against cutting edge modern British art with our own exhibition programme; and instigated programmes of conservation and research on our silver swan, and the recent gifts of the Lady Ludlow collection of porcelain and The Blackborne Collection of lace. ‘Director’s choice’ may therefore not be the ‘best’ or most valuable objects in the collection, so much as items that are significant within our own collections, and in turn throw light on the wider world beyond.
Director's Choice Spring 2014
Reginald Grenville Eves R.A (1876-1941)
Birch Trees with Houses
Over the Hills, Yorkshire
March Day, Sussex
Oil on panel, 1973.103.43-46
Reginald Grenville Eves was born in 1876, the son of William Henry Eves, a London Justice of the Peace. He spent his early years in London and Sussex and was educated at University College School and later at Slade School of Fine Art where he studied under Alphonse Legros, Frederick Brown and Henry Tonks.
After leaving home as a young man he spent a number of years living in a cottage known as Allan’s Hill at Holwick, near Middleton-in-Teesdale and developed a great affection for the area, returning frequently throughout his life for holidays. Eves went on to become one of Britain’s leading portrait painters during the first and second world wars. He was elected as an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1933 and a Royal Academician in 1939. Although already in his 60s he was commissioned as an official war artist in 1940, sadly dying just a year later in 1941.