Revealing hidden 15th-century Renaissance art

Emma House at The Bowes Museum, County Durham

Funded

£21,163 raised
196 funders

Funded 15 Aug 2014

0% funded

100% funded

We would love to redisplay and conserve our 15th-century Flemish altarpiece to reveal six paintings by the Master of the View of Sainte Gudule, and to reunite them with carvings in the piece.

Works by this 15th-century Flemish artist are rare in the UK and the oil-on-panel paintings on the back of the altarpiece shutters have been hidden from view for years. Revealing them would give the public a much greater appreciation of the work of this Renaissance painter.

The redisplay will be carried out with the help of acclaimed furniture conservator Rupert McBain and will include the building of a new oak frame. The frame will incorporate a mechanism to allow the regular opening and closing of the panels, so that the public can see the hidden art behind.

The project will include the incorporation of figures, which are in store at the Museum, carved by the renowned Brussels Sculptors’ Guild. These will be reunited with the carvings in the altarpiece. Missing pillars that would have linked the intricate canopies to the oak carvings, expressing the arrest, crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, will be carved and replaced.

Carvings of the crucifixion by the Brussels Sculptors’ Guild
The altarpiece will be raised and displayed on a stand in our 15th-century gallery. It will be placed alongside paintings from our religious art collection to recreate the impression of its original position above the altar in a church.

On the reverse of the oak carvings are three mallet marks, the hallmark of the Brussels Sculptors’ Guild. In order to give visitors an insight into the authentication of the altarpiece, we would like to be able to slide forward part of the carvings to reveal these marks. In addition, there will be a newly carved oak replica of part of the altarpiece so that visitors can feel the intricate texture and understand the skilled workmanship.

The conservation of the altarpiece will also include further research into how it would have originally been displayed, who may have commissioned it, who created it, and why our founders, John and Joséphine Bowes, considered it an important addition to their collection in 1859.

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For funders only

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For funders only

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For funders only

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The Guild Mark of the Brussels Sculptors

By Emma House

This project intends to conserve the mallet mark, the guild mark of the skilled carvers of Brussels who created our altarpiece in c.1480-1485... Read more

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Off to a great start!

By Emma House

We'd like to thank all the funders who have pledged towards our ambitious altarpiece campaign so far!... Read more

With thanks to...

Judith Lustigman
Edgware

Anne da Costa
Barnard Castle

Philip Cropper
Carnforth

Marian Sangster
Bishop Auckland

alexander taylor
Canterbury

Chris Morton
London

Paul and Helen Toplis
Stockton-on-Tees

Sam Connor
London

Andrew Fahey
Richmond

Amelia Joicey
Alnwick

Darren Stirk
Barnard Castle

Helen Thomson
London

Susan Tarr
Newcastle upon Tyne

Gillian Shaw
Stourbridge

Michael Godbee
London

Carolyn Hughes
Southampton

Anonymous

jon purcell
Durham

Joan Hillery-Robinson
Barnard Castle

Amanda Kinsman
London

Olga Karaskova
Lagny-sur-Marne

Christine MacKinnon
Darlington

Tony Luckett
Darlington

Anne Simpson
Richmond

Veronique Gerard Powell
Richmond

Alison Nicholson
Richmond

Neil Hamilton
London

Sonya Leydecker
London

Emma House
Barnard Castle

Jane Lawrence
Shepperton

Anonymous

Richard Bore
London

Anonymous

J M Brown
Osmotherley

Alison Mounter
Barnard Castle

Bruce R G Fletcher
Bedale

N A Postma
Pinner

Anonymous

Matthew Rutenberg
New York City

Anonymous

Anonymous

Julian Smith
Maidstone

Katherine Harding
London

Valerie Lane
Stockport

Derek Mills
Darlington

JENNIFER BEADLE
Richmond

Anonymous

Catherine Eccles
London

Celia Knight
St. Albans

Clare Baron
Bishop Auckland

David Bond
Luton

Sandra Pollard
Darlington

Harry Vane
Darlington

Anonymous

Jane Atkinson
Bishop Auckland

Elizabeth Ryder
London

Anonymous

Brigid Bird
Birmingham

June Svenson
Sunderland

Anonymous

Anonymous

Andrew Shepstone
St. Albans

Anna Grundberg
London

Anonymous

Joe Gannon
London

Anonymous

Sigrid Deissenberger
Twickenham

Anonymous

Chris Padget
Newton Aycliffe

Anonymous

Anonymous

Anonymous

Anonymous

Joan M Kenworthy
Bishop Auckland

Fiona Turnbull
Barnard Castle

Elizabeth O'Sullivan
York

George Laing
Darlington

Eric R Taylor
Harrogate

Barbara Hazeldine
Northallerton

Anonymous

Elizabeth Conran
Barnard Castle

Alison Bevan
Penzance

John Thomson
Edinburgh

Howard Charlesworth
Barnard Castle

Adam Taylor
Newcastle upon Tyne

Peter Austin
Barnard Castle

Anonymous

Anonymous

Philip Durant
Rowlands Gill

Anonymous

Debra Batey
London

Craig and Lesley Kettlewell
Saltburn-by-the-Sea

JME Harbottle
Newton Aycliffe

Rosemary Clarke
London

Judith Porter
Barnard Castle

Anonymous

Fiona Gameson
Durham

Richard Sippe
Barnard Castle

Margaret Mayell
Gloucester

Ruth Harrison
Farnham

Peter Ratzer
London

Amanda Scott
Consett

Susan Hills
Northampton

Ian C Somerville
Hexham

Hugh Bain
Dunoon

Janet England
Sale

Trudy A Watt
Oxford

Anonymous

Anonymous

Anonymous

John Williams
Stocksfield

Noel Petty
Stockton-on-Tees

Margaret Smart
Darlington

Rosie Hughes
Barnard Castle

Anne Allen
Durham

Juliet Gray
Barnard Castle

Louise Jones
London

John Wearmouth
Darlington

Kitty Grove-Stephensen
Middlesbrough

Ann Woodward
Barnard Castle

Elizabeth Darbyshire
Ripon

Dave Besag
Newcastle upon Tyne

Anonymous

Wendi Blair
Staindrop

john eccles
Richmond

Catherine Yates
Bishop Auckland

Anonymous

Elaine Taylor
Sherborne

Clare McLeod
Glasgow

Ann Hughes
Barnard Castle

Susan Brown
Bewdley

Sue O Longridge
Richmond

Angie Clarkson
Stockton-on-Tees

Mark Wrightson
Darlington

David Grier
Woodbridge

Annette Badland
Woodford Green

alistair wood
London

Anonymous

Moira Hargreaves
Darlington

Anonymous

Chris Tarpey
Barnard Castle

Adam Schoon
Darlington

Peter Mothersill
Richmond

Judy Caplin
Barnard Castle

Anonymous

Mary Carr
Richmond

Anonymous

Susan Palmer
York

Susan Bland
Hexham

Stephan Taylor
Barnard Castle

Lynne Daniels
Leamington Spa

Adrian Jenkins
Richmond

Jane Whittaker
Bishop Auckland

Anonymous

Niven Baird
Alton

Elinor Andrew
London

Hollie Drinkwater
Cambridge

Anonymous

Jon Old
Sunderland

Helen Simpson
Durham

Lesley Taylor
Barnard Castle

John Findlay
Bishop Auckland

CAROLINE Butler
London

Caroline Peacock
Bishop Auckland

Michael Carter
London

Richard Welsby
Barnard Castle

Christian Haw
Bracknell

Becky Lehman
Reading

Anne Brockington
Prestonpans

Anonymous

Gillian Wilson
Durham

Freda Rodgers
Guildford

Karen Sadler
Bristol

Tony Seward
Barnard Castle

Ann Marie Robinson
Barnard Castle

Anonymous

Meri Atkin
London

Anonymous

stephen deuchar
London

Vicky Diaz-Vilas
London

Anonymous

Rupert McBain
Darlington

Carolyn Young
London

Edythe Scott
London

Ben Taylor
Cambridge

Sarah Carlton
Crook

Mark Westgarth
Goole

Steven Herr
Chipping Norton

Margaret Maddison
Newcastle upon Tyne

Anonymous

Anonymous

Anonymous

Anonymous

Karen Harrison
Durham

Louise Hampson
Malton

Edward Morgan
London

Lesley

12 August 2014 - 17:57

Lesley Taylor MBE
Durham and Cleveland Art Fund chair
Art Fund Chair for the North


As a former Trustee of the Bowes Museum and a committed Art Fund volunteer, I would like to say what a privilege it has been to be involved with this Art Happens crowdfunding project at the Bowes Museum. It has been a huge learning curve for us all, especially me and I am so pleased to have been able to support Alison Nicholson who has taken the lead on this project, with such passion and enthusiasm. It has been nerve-racking at times but as the momentum has increased so has the excitement. The Bowes Museum project will be the first to complete its allotted time of 60 days and so it will be fantastic if we reach the target on Friday. If successful we plan to have an unveiling at Easter by the Bishop of Durham to celebrate this enormous achievement.
We must make it happen!

The project is now 81% Funded by 157 Funders and 3 days to go.

Emma, Barnard Castle

2 August 2014 - 22:36

We were thrilled to hear back from the Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler yesterday saying he'd love to be involved in the unveiling of the conserved altarpiece next Easter, if we are successful at reaching our target. For those of you tempted by the reward for pledging £995, we hope the opportunity to meet and chat to the Bishop of Durham over a glass of bubbly in the splendid surroundings of the early picture gallery makes it even more special. The invitation at this reward level is for you and a guest to attend this exclusive event as close to Easter as possible, and have your name on a wooden plaque next to the redisplayed 15th century altarpiece for posterity. Please keep pledging to make the conservation, redisplay and this very special celebration of Renaissance art happen.

Emma, Barnard Castle

19 July 2014 - 23:05

It is a remarkable art work in the collection, and being able to reveal the six hidden paintings on its reverse to the public would be fantastic. Our Conservation Manager, Jon Old, has also identified areas of essential conservation work which will be part of the project. You can read about his plans on our Museum blog http://thebowesmuseum.wordpress.com/2014/07/19/conservation-work-needed-on-the-15th-century-altarpiece/
The first contemporary oak panel, hand made by Rupert McBain, furniture conservator has been created and it's a beautiful piece of limited edition art inspired by the 15th century altarpiece - a very special reward for pledging £100.

Caroline, BISHOP AUCKLAND

19 July 2014 - 14:57

I've just had another look at this amazing altarpiece. It's huge - and beautiful. It would be just great to see it fully reassembled, especially as it seems to be by far the largest work by the Dutch Renaissance artist known as The Master of Saint Gudule in any collection, here in Britain or abroad.

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