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
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’s annual Christmas Market – a firm favourite in the regional calendar – has a new format for this year’s event, which takes place on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st December.

 

For a small cover charge of £2.50 visitors can look forward to seasonal shopping at around 100 stalls, use of the bus ‘park and ride’ facility and admission to the Museum, including access to the three stunning exhibitions currently on show.

 

And in a further change from previous markets - in deference to the vagaries of the British weather - food producers will be based on the hard-standing on the Museum terrace while craft stalls will be housed in a floored marquee on the rear lawn.

 

The event, which takes place from 10.00am – 4.00pm each day, offers quality gifts and produce from some of the finest suppliers in the area, including meats, chocolates, Christmas cakes, liqueurs, festive wreaths, toys, jewellery, paintings and pottery.

 

The popular Teesdale Alpacas will also be on site, with staff selling items made from their wool while chatting to visitors about these adorable creatures.

 

Inside the Museum, Santa will be welcoming children to his grotto from 10.00am – 12.30pm & again from 1.30pm – 4.00pm; admission to the grotto is £3.00 per child, which includes a gift.

 

Adding to the weekend’s welcoming atmosphere will be a range of children’s activities, musicians and choirs, while Teesdale Athletic Club will be holding a 5km Santa run, starting in the Museum grounds on Sunday 21st, along with a Little Elves’ Run 1km for under 10s; Santa suits and elf hats are included with your race pack. Please see http://www.teesdaleac.com/ for details of how to apply.

 

The park and ride ‘Santa buses’ will leave GlaxoSmithKline car park in the town’s Harmire Road, for the Museum at regular intervals each day, starting at 9.45am. The admission charge will be collected from each adult boarding the bus, or at the front gate for pedestrians and cars parking on site. This includes entry to the market and the Museum, including the three stunning exhibitions - Birds of Paradise: Plumes & Feathers in Fashion; Julian Opie, Collected Works, and Six Masterpieces of the Spanish Golden Age: Paintings from Madrid, London and York - currently on show; an excellent festive saving on the normal admission charge, along with the usual free admission for accompanied children under 16.

 

Disabled drivers unable to use the park and ride will still be able to park free of charge in the Museum grounds, on production of their badge. Others wishing to park on site at the Museum will be charged £5.00 per vehicle in addition to the £2.50 cover charge per person.

 

The Museum’s Events Co-ordinator, Rosie Bradford, said: “We look forward to welcoming visitors to this spectacular two-day event. Come along and enjoy the magical atmosphere and pick up outstanding food and unique gifts from friendly local producers”.

 

Visitors please note that there will be no access to the market via the rear gate in Crook Lane.

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.

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.