Norman Cornish: The Definitive Collection

Norman Cornish: The Definitive Collection


16 November 2019 - 23 February 2020

We’re truly honoured to be holding the first major retrospective exhibition of works by a North East artist who’s one of the most respected and best loved of the 20th Century.

Norman Cornish: The Definitive Collection, celebrates the centenary of the acclaimed County Durham artist’s work and opens almost 100 years to the day of his birth in Spennymoor.

Visitors will be able to see more than 60 of his works, some of which haven’t been shown publicly before.  They’ll include drawings, pastels and oil paintings from both public and private collections and form the most comprehensive collection of his work ever assembled that tells the captivating story of his enduring career.

Your Street


Be in for a chance to win a Norman Cornish Print!

To celebrate this exhibition we invite photographers of all ages to take inspiration from Norman Cornish, and to share your own unique images of your street.

Through this project, we hope to capture images that represent the distinctive character of life today. They can show anything from streets to the people and customs that give our day and age its unmistakable identity and charm.

Please submit this application form and your pictures here>

Related Events


Learn to draw like Norman Cornish at Randolph Centre, Evenwood

25 January, Free, Randolph Centre, Evenwood

Learn to draw like Norman Cornish at Randolph Centre, Evenwood

10.00 - 12.00 - Create a portrait, using drawing materials and pastels - participants will create a self portrait in the style of Norman Cornish.

1.00 - 3.00 - Make your very own sketchbook, using paper-folding techniques and then use fineliners and marker pens to create Norman Cornish style sketches.

Booking advised, please email education@thebowesmuseum.org.uk for more details.


Learn to draw like Norman Cornish at Cockfield Community Cafe

1 February, Free, Cockfield Community Cafe

Learn to draw like Norman Cornish at Cockfield Community Cafe

10.00 -12.00 - Create a portrait, using drawing materials and pastels - participants will create a self portrait in the style of Norman Cornish.

Drop-In - 1.00 - 3.00 - Make your very own sketchbook, using paper-folding techniques and then use fineliners and marker pens to create Norman Cornish style sketches.

Booking advised, please email education@thebowesmuseum.org.uk for more details.


Learn to draw like Norman Cornish at Woodland Village Hall

8 February, Free, Woodland Village Hall

Learn to draw like Norman Cornish at Woodland Village Hall

Session - 10.00 -12.00 - Create a portrait, using drawing materials and pastels - participants will create a self portrait in the style of Norman Cornish.

Drop-In - 1.00 - 3.00 - Make your very own sketchbook, using paper-folding techniques and then use fineliners and marker pens to create Norman Cornish style sketches.

Booking advised, please email education@thebowesmuseum.org.uk for more details.


Behind The Scenes: The Norman Cornish Centenary Lecture

​15 February, 2.15, Free, Booking required

Behind The Scenes: The Norman Cornish Centenary Lecture

Norman Cornish MBE was perhaps the most significant artist to emerge from the North East of England in the 20th Century. Through his work, he recorded one of the most important passages in English history. As part of the regional celebrations of his centenary, his son-in-law Mike Thornton will present this illustrated talk. Revealing predominantly unseen works, it will cover many of the key moments in the artist’s career, including important commissions such as The Durham Miners Gala Mural and his works for The Port of Tyne Authority. Mike will also share images of life in Norman’s family home of Spennymoor during the 1950s and 60s and works from his trip to Paris in 1967. This is a story of the artist’s great determination and resilience to overcome adversity and prejudice to become one of the region’s most celebrated artists.

Book here


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