Paintings of the Spanish Golden Age: the Collections of County Durham

spanish symposiumThursday 23rd of October – Saturday 25th of October

Jointly organised by Auckland Castle, The Bowes Museum, and Durham University, this three-day symposium aims to highlight the outstanding collections of Spanish art held in County Durham.

Internationally renowned academics and museum professionals will present a wide range of papers that will place these significant collections within their artistic, cultural, and historic context. The symposium will also be an opportunity to consider the reception of seventeenth-century Spanish art in Britain, marking the bicentenary of the arrival of Velázquez’s Rokeby Venus in Teesdale (now in the National Gallery, London).

Speakers include Gabriele Finaldi (Museo del Prado, Madrid), Letizia Treves (The National Gallery, London), Javier Portus (Museo del Prado, Madrid), Alistair Laing (former National Trust), Xanthe Brooke (Walker Art Gallery), Itziar Aranna (Academia de San Fernando, Madrid), and Véronique Gerard Powell, (University of Paris-Sorbonne).

To download the programme please click here.

The symposium will be accompanied at Auckland Castle by Hidden Treasures: Spanish Art in County Durham (15 October 2014 – 30 October 2015), an exhibition showcasing Spanish objects and artwork from across the region. The Bowes Museum is hosting a complimentary exhibition, Seventeenth Century Spanish Painting: The Golden Age (11 October 2014 – 1 February 2015), developed in partnership with Auckland Castle and Durham University’s Centre for Visual Arts and Culture.


Reserve Your Place

To reserve your place please complete our booking form or for a student bursary form please click here and return to Rosie Bradford, Groups and Events Co-ordinator at The Bowes Museum.

For any further enquiries please contact or contact Rosie Bradford on 01833 694615.


Thursday 23 October – Auckland Castle, Bishop Auckland

Auckland Castle, has been the palace of the Bishop of Durham for over 900 years. One of its greatest treasures is the extraordinary series of Jacob and his Twelve Sons by Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664) and his studio, painted between 1640 and 1645. This set of monumental and arresting paintings was purchased in 1756 by Richard Trevor, Bishop of Durham 1752 – 1771, at the posthumous sale of James Mendez, a Jewish merchant of Portuguese origins. Ever since, the paintings have hung in the Long Dining Room at Auckland Castle, which Trevor remodelled as a gallery for their display.

Friday 24 October- The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle

The Bowes Museum, founded by John and Joséphine Bowes and opened in 1892, holds one of the largest public collections of Spanish paintings in Britain outside London, including works by El Greco and Goya. The majority of these paintings were acquired by the Founders in 1862-63 from the collection of the Countess de Quinto, through their Parisian dealer, Benjamin Gogué.

Saturday 25 October – Durham University, Durham

Durham University is home to Spanish paintings located in Durham Castle and at Ushaw College. The Symposium is being supported by academics from the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture and the Institute of Advanced Studies.


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