The Bowes Museum > Exhibitions > 2013 > Material Remains: Diana Winkfield

Material Remains: Diana Winkfield

16 February 2013 - 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.

It was a captivating exploration by artist Diana Winkfield, resulting in evocative paintings, drawings and installations with found objects, particularly clothing, discovered while refurbishing her farmhouse in France. They inspired her to examine fabric matter in varying stages of wear and decay, left behind by people from across the class divide.

Paralleling the observations commonly recorded by archaeologists, museum curators and conservators, Winkfield’s work focused on the analysis of the colour, fabric, shape, texture, condition and origins of such objects to reveal a jumble of memories, which unravelled and weave real and supposed stories.

Her work, which considered the cultural ideal embedded in French society and expressed life and loss through paintings of found garments, was also inspired by items from The Bowes Museum, whose founder Joséphine Bowes was French. Joséphine was a contemporary of the Empress Eugénie whose collection of costume in the Museum inspired Winkfield to create a magnificent painting for the exhibition.

She also took inspiration from two corsets from the mid 18th Century in the Bowes Collection - one delicate and feminine, reminding Winkfield of ‘ornamental tiny women held from morning to night on painful display’, the other of coarse brown twilled cotton, worn and reworn, patched and repatched, darned and mended, calling up images ‘of a big boned strong peasant woman who once wore it.’

Curated by Annabel Talbot, this exclusive show resonated with those involved with historic and vintage clothing.

Winkfield studied drawing, painting and printmaking under Elizabeth Blackadder at Edinburgh College of Art, and History of Art under David Talbot-Rice at Edinburgh University during the 1960s before going on to have a successful career as a painter, selling her work through top London galleries. Her work features in numerous public and private collections.

Read about Diana's experiences in her blog about the planning and research stage of her exhibition, and how it comes to fruition in Material Remains at the end of her journey.


The Bowes Museum grounds are open!

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. However, the grounds remain open to visitors from 10.00 - 4.00 daily, and we are currently hosting a woodland fairy trail, two spring trails and outdoor guided tours are available from 29 March 2021.

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 Café 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.

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.