• Katie

The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle


I had heard about the Bowes Museum and I have driven past it whilst joining my daughter, Lucy and husband, Chris on their Coast to Coast bike ride. It is very grand building and stands out amongst the small town of Barnard Castle. Speaking to Matthew in the studio, he asked me to look out for an image of Napoleon sketched into a piece of ivory. He and his brother had inherited it from their parents and, being PC kind of fellows, decided to donate it to the museum to add to their growing collection of artefacts connected to Napoleon. Sadly the museum were just dismantling their recent Napoleon Exhibition and so I missed out.

I was in total awe at the size of the building and the rooms, further reading revealed that it was never a home, rather it had been purpose built as a museum to house the ever growing collections of the Bowes family.

The painting/picture gallery was very interesting and housed incredible work by El Greco, Van Dyck, Canaletto, Gainsborough and Goya. A particular portrait caught my eye ( not just because of his fine moustache!) but in his hand he held a stick with a hand on the end... I will ask Matthew, the fount of all knowledge on hands!

Up in the ceramics gallery there were glass cases full of mainly porcelain dishes, figurines, vases etc. To be honest, I wasn't much taken by these pieces, perhaps because there were so many of them.

I visit to the Mouncey Fine Art Gallery proved much more up my street. See separate blog.


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