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Durham University

Centre for Visual Arts and Culture

Spanish Art in County Durham

Spanish Art in County Durham is an ongoing collaborative research project that seeks to explore the surprising richness of the collections of County Durham, analysing works from those of the fifteenth century Torralba Master through to household names such as El Greco, Zurbarán, and Goya. Its purpose is to raise awareness of the cultural importance of Durham’s artistic heritage (which often seems to be a closely guarded secret rather than a commonly acknowledged fact), and to bring its collections of Spanish art to greater public prominence. The project is coordinated by Professor Andy Beresford from within Durham University’s Centre for Visual Arts and Cultures in conjunction with members of the Auckland Castle Trust, The Bowes Museum, and a range of other stakeholders. These include Durham Cathedral, Durham Castle, Raby Castle, and Ushaw College, all of which have significant holdings in Spanish art. The emphasis of the project falls on wide-ranging interdisciplinary discussion, and it has so far produced a three-day symposium, a series of public evening lectures hosted by Auckland Castle and The Bowes Museum, and a companion guide to Spanish art in County Durham. Members of the project are currently engaged in a range of collaborative activities, including the preparation of a joint funding initiative that will seek to cement the position of the County and its institutions as vibrant and dynamic settings for research into Spanish art and culture.