A dramatic and striking new exhibition opens at The Bowes Museum’s award winning Fashion & Textile Gallery in October; its only UK venue.

Birds of Paradise – Plumes and Feathers in Fashion is 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.

Thanks to their beauty, fragility and value, feathers and plumes had various connotations and were used throughout history in fashionable dress, both as an accessory and as part of the entire silhouette. The exhibition, organised by MoMu - Fashion Museum Antwerp, addresses aspects such as luxury, modernism, femininity, lightness, and also themes of lost innocence and dark romance.

“Whereas in the past, feathers were generally appreciated for their value and refinement, contemporary designers now see them as an expression of freedom and spirituality,” said the Museum’s Keeper of Textiles, Joanna Hashagen, who is curating the show with MoMu curators Karen Van Godtsenhoven and  Wim Mertens.

The exhibition features the ancient profession of plumassier in cooperation with the Parisian Maison Lemarié, one of the last traditional feather studios. This fashion house has specialised in processing plumes, primarily for French haute couture, since 1880. Maison Lemarié is making samples of its beautiful feather work especially for this exhibition.

The fashion for feathers as accessories is also revealed with tantalising displays of fans, hats, including a number by Stephen Jones, and sumptuous feather shoes from Roger Vivier.

 

“It will also demonstrate that thanks to design houses such as Alexander McQueen and Dries Van Noten feathers are firmly back on the fashion agenda and once again featuring strongly on the catwalk,” said Joanna.

Birds of Paradise – Plumes & Feathers in Fashion opens on 25th October 2014 and runs until 19th April 2015.

The exhibitions was initiated by MoMu - Fashion Museum Antwerp.

Detail of marquetry
To commemorate the centenary of the start of the First World War, students from Northumbria University have produced an exhibition – Changing Times - inspired by clothing of the era.

The students, from the university’s acclaimed BA Hons Fashion Design and Marketing Programme, explored and researched historical trends from the period, collating images and information from combat design and camouflage, in order to produce a range of designs that reflect the era in a contemporary way.

Colour, surface decoration, texture and silhouette were all considered, whilst students reflected upon the traumas of the trenches alongside a quickly changing Edwardian society at home.

Fabrics have been printed and surface decoration applied to fabric in order to present a selection of men’s and women’s wear inspired by this memorable period in history.

“We are delighted to be continuing our links with Northumbria University and to be showcasing the work of these talented students in our award winning Fashion & Textile Gallery,” said Hannah Jackson, the Museum’s Assistant Curator of Fashion and Textiles.

The Fashion & Textile Gallery will also display items from The Bowes Museum’s collection, worn between 1914 – 1918, with local connections to Teesdale and Newcastle.

The students’ work is on display at The Bowes Museum from 14th June until 31st August 2014.
A competition to redesign the 22-acre garden and grounds at The Bowes Museum has been won by Arabella Lennox-Boyd, who was among three
internationally renowned designers invited to submit plans for the £3m project.

Their brief was to create a garden to complement the Grade 1 listed building and its outstanding collection of fine and decorative arts. The design needed to be exciting for horticulturalists, cater for the wide range of visitors of all ages, and reflect the botanical importance of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty where rare flowers such as the Blue Gentian grow.

The entries were uniformly excellent but Arabella Lennox-Boyd’s winning plans 'dazzled' the judges. The masterplan includes a parterre with shallow canals, a pergola, rose covered pavilions and stepped banks topped by pleached limes to frame the French style Museum. The design also includes a contemporary café, a horticultural therapy centre and a verdant play area with wide-scale trees, shrubs and herbaceous planting to provide horticultural interest throughout the year.

Peter Millican, a Trustee of The Bowes Museum and head of the judging panel, said: “I am extremely excited about the creation of a wonderful new garden. The Arabella Lennox-Boyd design is not only stunning but offers something for everyone and will continue to develop over the years, as all good gardens should. Her design complements both the Museum and the vision of its founders John and Joséphine Bowes.”

The other judges echoed his enthusiasm. Journalist and author, Christopher Stocks said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for The Bowes Museum to really raise its game, not only for its extraordinary building and remarkable collections, but for its gardens too. This will make it a first among British museums and is a brilliant way of encouraging other galleries to be more ambitious about their settings and surroundings.”

Clare Foster, Garden Editor, House & Garden magazine added: “With international garden design on the ascendant, it seems the time is right for such an exciting project and the Museum's stunning and unusual architecture deserves an equally striking landscape to complement it.”

An exhibition celebrating the conservation of an important painting not seen publicly for over half a century opens at The Bowes Museum next month.

 

The Last Communion of Saint Raymond Nonnatus forms the centrepiece of the show, Six Masterpieces, which includes significant loans from the Museo del Prado in Madrid and the National Gallery in London. The exhibition investigates the painting’s creator, Francisco Pacheco (1564-1654) and the Sevillian School of painting, exploring his role as the master of the second generation of painters in Seville during that period.

 

The painting is one of six executed by Pacheco for the Merced Calzada Convent in Seville, now the Museo de Bellas Artes. It is a work of great significance to the history of Spanish painting, an area in which The Bowes Museum excels; its collection boasts 76 works by Spanish artists, making it the finest venue in the UK to explore the genre after the National Gallery.

 

Pacheco was author of a critical treatise on the theories and practises of painting, Arte de la Pintura, which was fundamental to the development of Spanish Baroque painting. He was an important figure, both in the scope of his interests and teachings and as master and father-in-law of Diego Velázquez. The painting follows the techniques of his treatise, with chemical analysis proving that the ground colour came from silt from the Guadaquivir River which flows through Seville.

 

It was donated to The Bowes Museum in 1964 in memory of Tony Ellis, the Museum’s former Deputy Director, and now, following a lengthy period of restoration, it will take star billing in the exhibition which opens on Saturday 11th October.

 

“It was in storage from the 1960s to the 1990s, but in the early 70s a thick coat of varnish was applied to stabilise the paint; an accepted practice in those days,” said the Museum’s Conservation Manager, Jon Old.

 

Later, after consulting with other restorers, the Museum’s then paintings’ conservator felt the painting could be successfully restored and he set about cleaning it. Following his untimely death in 2004 various conservators, including Jon, continued the work, while a special relationship with the National Gallery saw it lined and cleaned there before the job of reconstructing the badly worn areas could be tackled back at the Museum.

 

David Everingham then took up the mantle, eventually going freelance to concentrate on the mammoth project in his Yorkshire studio.

 

“Those who saw the painting in its previous state will certainly see a massive difference,” said Jon. “It will definitely take pride of place in the exhibition.”

 

The exhibition, curated by Spanish art specialist Veronique Powell, former Chief Curator and senior lecturer at the Sorbonne in Paris, runs from Saturday 11th October 2014 until Sunday 1st February 2015. 

The exhibitions will coincide with a major three-day conference drawing together top experts in Spanish art. Both are part of a joint collaboration between The Bowes Museum, Auckland Castle and Durham University, backed by the National Gallery and Museo del Prado, aimed at securing the profile of County Durham as an internationally renowned centre for Spanish art. They will be complemented by a series of four public lectures – two at The Bowes Museum and two at Auckland Castle – between November 2014 and February 2015, to broaden the symposium’s audience and further the understanding of Spanish art.

The Bowes Museum is delighted to announce a major boost to its award winning Fashion & Textile Gallery, thanks to the support of the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

The grant of £180,693 will allow the Museum to employ an Assistant Keeper of Fashion and Textiles, plus a Textiles Conservator, both of whom will play a vital role in expanding the curatorial and conservation work of the gallery.

Working alongside Joanna Hashagen, the Museum’s Keeper of Fashion & Textiles, the pair will assist in staging iconic exhibitions - for which the gallery has earned a glowing reputation – as well as conducting research and contributing to the essential management of the existing collection and any future acquisitions.

They will play significant roles in the care of items, including the internationally important Blackborne Lace Collection - donated to the Museum in 2006 by the descendants of Anthony and Arthur Blackborne, who were master lace dealers in 19th century London. A stunning lace collar from this collection, reputed to have belonged to King Charles I, was among eight items of lace loaned for the In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion exhibition at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, earlier this year, viewed by over 134,000 visitors.

“This was particularly pleasing, as The Queen’s Gallery is known as the place where the Royal Collection is displayed; they do not normally borrow from other collections,” said Mrs Hashagen. 

Working closely together, the post-holders will select and prioritise items for display in the Fashion & Textile Gallery, taking into account historical importance while weighing up conservation needs. This will give greater access to parts of the collection which have never before been on show to the public. They’ll also work towards rotating the displays, both for the benefit of visitors and for conservation reasons. In addition, opportunities will be created for teaching and research, as well as the offering of support to other regional museums without such provision.

“In establishing these posts the Museum, with this generous support from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, is investing in the future of a gallery which since its opening in 2010 has become the leading one of its type in the UK,” Mrs Hashagen added. 

The gallery - which represents the wide range of the collection, including dress, European silks, tapestries, embroidery, lace and quilts, housed in glass cases which can be viewed from all sides – is both spectacular, using the latest display ideas and materials, and serious, by ultimately providing easy access to study the collections.

The displays illustrate the use of textiles in fashionable dress and historic design from the 16th to the late 20th Century.

End

The Bowes Museum continues to advance its burgeoning contemporary exhibition programme with the opening of Julian Opie: Collected Works.

 

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.

 

Throughout his own prolific career Opie has amassed art from the past including 17th and 18th century British portraiture by artists such as Joshua Reynolds and George Romney, together with Egyptian sculpture from the ancient world. This exhibition showcases his own works alongside pieces from his private collection, examining the relationship between the two.

 

Such juxtaposition is revealing in many ways, in particular throwing light on the inspiration for Opie’s practise as an artist, but also in revealing the complexity within the nature of portraiture: what it means, how it is achieved and how it’s changed throughout the history of art.

 

Works in a variety of media will be on display including paintings, prints, LEDs and video as well as more recent experiments in mosaic and sculpture, shown together with pieces ranging from an ancient Egyptian funerary mask to an arresting ‘warts and all’ Houdon bust of 18th century composer Cristoph Gluck complete with smallpox scarring.

 

Opie has exhibited extensively around the world during the past 30 years and now for the first time we have an opportunity to see his work within the context of his collection, offering a fascinating insight into his oeuvre and his collecting instinct. His work also forms part of the permanent collections of the National Portrait Gallery and the Tate in London, and New York’s Museum of Modern Art, MoMa. He has also completed public commissions in major cities around the globe.

 

The exhibition has been organised by the Holburne Museum.

The vision of securing County Durham’s place as an internationally renowned centre for Spanish art has moved a step closer with the news that three of the region’s leading heritage and educational bodies are to join forces with two of the world’s top galleries for a unique series of public exhibitions and lectures.

Auckland Castle, The Bowes Museum and Durham University will this autumn link-up with London’s National Gallery and Madrid’s Museo del Prado.

The pioneering move will see many of the world’s top experts in Spanish Golden Age art gather in County Durham in October for a major three-day conference to mark the bicentenary of the arrival of Diego Velázquez’s Rokeby Venus in Teesdale.

This will coincide with important newly discovered and restored works of Golden Age Spanish art going on public display for the first time at The Bowes Museum and Auckland Castle alongside significant loans from the National Gallery and Museo del Prado.

Both the exhibitions and symposium are part of a wider, long-term aspiration shared by Durham University, The Bowes Museum and Auckland Castle and backed by the National Gallery and Museo del Prado, to establish County Durham as a key international academic and tourist destination focused around the area’s rich concentration of Spanish art.

The Bowes Museum, Durham University and Auckland Castle between them house the biggest pool of Golden Age Spanish art outside London.

The ambitious plan will give a much needed boost to the county’s economy as well as advance Durham’s cultural profile on the world stage and, in the words of Lord Jacob Rothschild, create “a small part of North East England which is part of Spain.”

It will also mark the beginning of a long and beneficial partnership between all the institutions.

Adrian Jenkins, Director of The Bowes Museum, said: “This joint venture between The Bowes Museum, Auckland Castle and Durham University marks the start of a special and important relationship, both for the venues involved and for County Durham.

“Whilst the symposium is the catalyst, the intention is that we will continue working closely together long term to establish something truly unique, which will result in the county proclaimed internationally as a hub for the examination and understanding of Spanish art.”

Dr Chris Ferguson, Auckland Castle’s head curator, added: “This conference, and the exhibitions at Auckland Castle and The Bowes Museum, are the beginning of our exciting project to make Spanish art accessible to the people of the North East and beyond.

“Bringing the foremost international scholars to County Durham will help us in our quest to research and understand some of the most exceptional collections of art in the United Kingdom.”

Durham University’s coordinator of Spanish art research, Dr Andy Beresford, said: “This important ongoing partnership with Auckland Castle and The Bowes Museum has provided members of Durham University’s Centre for Visual Arts and Cultures with an exciting and novel opportunity for interdisciplinary engagement, the development of a range of collaborative research synergies, and the potential to raise the profile of Spanish art in County Durham and of the cultural richness of the North East more broadly.

“We are very much looking forward to a long and fruitful relationship and to establishing an internationally renowned centre for the study of Spanish art in Britain.”

The Bowes Museum boasts 76 works’ by Spanish artists and to this day remains the best venue in the UK to explore the genre after the National Gallery.

Auckland Castle is home to the internationally important cycle of paintings, Jacob and his 12 Sons, by the 17th century Spanish master Francisco de Zurbarán, which have hung in a specially built gallery at the former home of the Bishops of Durham for 250 years.

And Jonathan Ruffer, Chairman of the Auckland Castle Trust, has the honour of being the UK’s only International Patron of the Fundación Amigos del Museo del Prado (Friends of the Prado Museum Charity).

Ushaw College also owns many important works of Spanish art, as do Durham Castle and Durham Cathedral.

The Paintings of the Spanish Golden Age: The Collections of County Durham symposium to be held between October 23-25, will highlight these outstanding assemblages.

Among the esteemed speakers helping place the collections in their historical, artistic and cultural context will be Gabriele Finaldi, Associate Director of Curator and Research, at the Museo del Prado; Letizia Treves, Curator of Italian and Spanish Paintings 1600-1800, at the National Gallery, and celebrated art dealer Anthony Mould.

Four public lectures – two at Auckland Castle and two at The Bowes Museum – delivered by leading academics, will also be held between November and February, to broaden the symposium’s audience and enhance a wider understanding of Spanish art.

Running parallel to the main convention, which is expected to attract influential delegates and students of Spanish art to the lectures at Auckland Castle and The Bowes Museum, will be the two public exhibitions. 

At Auckland Castle the Zurbarán’s will be shown alongside a cycle of 17th century Sevillian paintings of the Apostles brought to Durham Cathedral in 1753.

Also featured will be selected works of Spanish art from Ushaw College’s collection which will be on public display for the first time.

The Bowes Museum, meanwhile, will exhibit six pieces focusing on the artist Francisco Pacheco’s The Last Communion of Saint Raymond Nonnatus, which will be displayed alongside significant loaned works including Zurbarán’s The Martyrdom of Saint James and Juan van der Hamen y León’s Still Life with Artichokes, Flowers and Glass Vessels from the Museo del Prado.

Zurbarán’s Saint Francis in Meditation and Juan de Valdés Leal’s The Immaculate Conception with Two Donors from the National Gallery, will also feature.

A dramatic and striking new exhibition opens at The Bowes Museum’s award winning Fashion & Textile Gallery in October; its only UK venue.

 

Birds of Paradise – Plumes and Feathers in Fashion is 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.

 

Thanks to their beauty, fragility and value, feathers and plumes had various connotations and were used throughout history in fashionable dress, both as an accessory and as part of the entire silhouette. The exhibition, organised by MoMu - Fashion Museum Antwerp, addresses aspects such as luxury, modernism, femininity, lightness, and also themes of lost innocence and dark romance.

 

“Whereas in the past, feathers were generally appreciated for their value and refinement, contemporary designers now see them as an expression of freedom and spirituality,” said the Museum’s Keeper of Textiles, Joanna Hashagen, who is curating the show with MoMu curators Karen Van Godtsenhoven and  Wim Mertens.

 

The exhibition features the ancient profession of plumassier in cooperation with the Parisian Maison Lemarié, one of the last traditional feather studios. This fashion house has specialised in processing plumes, primarily for French haute couture, since 1880. Maison Lemarié is making samples of its beautiful feather work especially for this exhibition.

The fashion for feathers as accessories is also revealed with tantalising displays of fans, hats, including a number by Stephen Jones, and sumptuous feather shoes from Roger Vivier.

“It will also demonstrate that thanks to design houses such as Alexander McQueen and Dries Van Noten feathers are firmly back on the fashion agenda and once again featuring strongly on the catwalk,” said Joanna.

 

Birds of Paradise – Plumes & Feathers in Fashion opens on 25th October 2014 and runs until 19th April 2015.

 

The exhibition was initiated by MoMu – Fashion Museum Antwerp.