Outstanding Treasures

The Bowes Museum

22 of The Bowes Museum's most prized possessions

Our 18th century silver swan automaton is one of our most loved objects, and for conservation purposes is only played once a day.

According to Luke’s Gospel, Peter denied Jesus on the night before his death, thus fulfilling his prophecy. When Peter heard the cock crow after his betrayal, he 'went out and wept bitterly'.This painting is one of several El Greco painted of this subject

This painting is a restrained but effective indictment of man, a theme to which Goya repeatedly returned. It belongs to a series of twelve ‘cabinet’ pictures that Goya painted on tinplate between 1793 & 1794.

Measuring a mere 11cm in length, including its tail, this mouse is made of gold with seed pearl decorations all over its body and garnet eyes. It was purchased by Joséphine Bowes in London in 1871.

The scene shows a lay brother of the Carmelite order being struck dead as he receives the Holy Communion. The painting is one of a group created for the base of an altarpiece, known as a predella; the companion paintings are now scattered throughout the world.

'The Harrowing of Hell' is an incomplete section of a 15th century carved altar screen showing scenes of 'The Passion and Death of Christ'. It was from a church (now demolished) at Monk Hesleden.

Mary Eleanor Bowes, Countess of Strathmore and grandmother of John Bowes, was a keen collector of plants; this cabinet was made to house her collection.

Silver figure of Sappho by James Pradier, signed and dated 1848, from the Simonette foundry.

This is a portrait of Trevisani's leading patron, Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni (1667-1740), the great nephew of Pope Alexander VII and a leading light of the Academy of Arcadia, an organisation devoted to the reform of painting, theatre, poetry & music.

This panel, made from ebony and exotic woods on an oak carcass, is of exceptional quality. It was acquired by the 1st Earl of Warwick who brought it to England and had it made into a cabinet; this work is attributed to Mayhew and Ince, London cabinet makers.

Found in Piercebridge, this is typical of Roman pottery, some of these containers held ashes from cremations. It has been partially reconstructed.

This style of separate collar was known as a falling or cloak band in the 17th century, as it spread widely over the shoulders. It is best known from the male portraits of Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641) and is said to have belonged to Charles I.

This bodice belonged to Empress Eugénie and consists of shadow printed silk with about eight colours and shades of white, blue and pink flowers.

These two paintings are amongst Canalettos’s largest and finest works. They show public events on the Canal; the first shows the Doge’s barge, the Bucintoro or Bucintaur, after the imaginary wedding to the sea, in which the Doge tosses a wedding ring into the Adriatic Sea.

This panelling is part of a room which was originally known as the Ante- Room or ‘French room’ at Chesterfield House, London. It represents one of the earliest examples of the Rococo style in England.

This clock is in soft-paste porcelain, of cube-shape with four raised rococo feet, moulded with pierced scrolls on the corners and pierced rococo side panels.

This exquisite doll is made of carved and painted wood with glass eyes, jointed arms and legs and beautifully painted features.

Joséphine's bed is carved out of gilt wood with a separate canopy, and is known as 'lit à la duchesse'.

Joséphine Bowes, wife of John Bowes and co-founder of The Bowes Museum, was a highly competent amateur painter. She painted in the Realist style and her work was accepted on several occasions for exhibition in the Paris Salon.

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