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 is looking forward to welcoming you on the 17 May

Staff have been busy behind the Museum’s closed doors getting everything ready to welcome visitors back safely.

Café Bowes has undergone a refurbishment and has a new menu waiting to be sampled, the Museum has been deep cleaned, new signage is in place reminding you to adhere to social distancing, hand sanitisation stations have been refilled, the shop has been restocked and staff are being trained ready to greet you back in a safe and timely manner.

North Country Quilts: In Celebration of New Acquisitions is now hanging in the main exhibition gallery ready to wow visitors through to January 2022 and, due to social distancing measures, entry to the display will be by a separate timed exhibition entrance ticket that needs to be booked, at no extra cost, before visiting. Song has also been reinstated in the Music Room so people can enjoy the sound of the instruments. A varied programme of activity is being planned throughout May and June which we hope you will participate in.

Entry to the Museum will be by timed slots and tickets will have to be pre-booked online here or by calling 01833 690606. The Museum will be open from 10.00 to 5.00 daily. Masks will need to be worn throughout the Museum, shop and café, except when eating or where exemptions apply.

We look forward to welcoming you back soon!