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Bowes Museum adds two new Italian paintings to collection

Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle has added two more Italian paintings to its art collection as their £1m fundraiser goes on

The Encounter of the Procurator with his Wife at Ridotto
The Encounter of the Procurator with his Wife at Ridotto

Two stunning paintings which have gone on show at The Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle have been described as a “significant addition” to its important collection of 18th Century masters.

The paintings – The Lover of a Venetian Lady, top right, and The Encounter of a Procurator with his Wife at Ridotto – are copies of engravings by French painter and engraver Flipart of paintings by the 18th Century Italian artist Pietro Longhi, who produced scenes of Venetian life.

Part of a bequest by Rosemary Claire Hunter, they have been bestowed on The Bowes Museum by the Art Fund following an application by the museum’s keeper of fine art, Emma House.

“These two works are attributed to the Maestro dei Riflessi (follower of Longhi) or Master of the Reflections due to the sparkling nature of his brushwork,” said Emma.

“The works enhance the Museum’s important collection of Italian paintings, including landscapes by Canaletto and Guardi (also given by the Art Fund), which represent the Venetian school in the 18th Century.

“The paintings help expand the Museum’s collection into the field of social scenes and life, while enhancing its collection of artefacts relating to the same period,” she added.

Painting acquired by the Bowes Museum - The Lover of a Venetian Lady
Painting acquired by the Bowes Museum - The Lover of a Venetian Lady

The imagery of these paintings links them to the very fine collection of decorative arts -including the Lady Ludlow collection of English porcelain gifted by the Art Fund in 2004 – and equally fine examples of 18th Century textiles, including some fine woven silk fabrics gifted by the aristocracy to the convent of Poor Clares which were gifted to The Bowes Museum in 2009.

The paintings will hang long term in the central picture gallery, which along with its two adjacent galleries has recently undergone major refurbishment.

They will sit alongside works by Goya, Boucher, Gainsborough and Reynolds as well as the previously mentioned Canaletto and Gaudi.

And if that wasn’t enough good news to be getting on with, the Bowes has also enjoyed a very successful start to a �1m fundraising campaign aimed at securing its long-term future.

The campaign began in earnest in 2012, after the museum was successfully awarded �1m under the Catalyst Endowments programme; a joint enterprise between the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), and Arts Council England (ACE).

Designed to bring new money into the cultural sector, the programme offers pound-for-pound match funding for donations made to the newly created The Bowes Museum Catalyst Endowment Fund, with the museum required to raise �1m over a four year period to profit from the full amount of the award.

The museum began by seeking financial support through its network of existing Friends and supporters and was delighted to announce the initial target has now been exceeded. At the end of this first year pledges totalling �350,000 had been made, with �218,000 of the amount already received, against targets of �300,000 and �100,000 respectively.

The income generated will be used to advance the public’s knowledge and understanding of art, craft, design and history by underpinning long-term curatorial, conservation and educational activities, along with the exhibition and events programme. If you’d like to find out more, email catalyst@thebowesmuseum.org.uk


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