Museum launches crowdfunding campaign to redisplay ancient artwork

ANCIENT ARTWORK: An image from The Passion Altarpiece, which The Bowes Museum hopes to redisplay

ANCIENT ARTWORK: An image from The Passion Altarpiece, which The Bowes Museum hopes to redisplay

First published in News

A MUSEUM has launched a campaign to raise £21,000 to redisplay a piece of 15th Century artwork.

As part the Art Fund’s Art Happens platform, where five museums around the UK are each attempting to fund their own project, the Bowes Museum, in Barnard Castle, County Durham, is crowdfunding through the Kickstarter initiative, to raise the money.

Earlier this year, the museum commissioned a conceptual neon artwork from leading British sculptor Gavin Turk to display on the facade of the building after a successful crowdfunding campaign raised more than £6,000 to finance the initiative.

The museum is planning to channel its latest fundraising campaign using the new Art Fund platform, which launched last week, to raise the £21,000 required to sympathetically redisplay The Passion Altarpiece at the museum and reveal the hidden secrets on its reverse.

The altarpiece comprises six oil-on-panel paintings by Master of the View of St Gudule, from the 15th Century, and intricate wooden carvings by the Brussels Sculptors’ Guild, forming a sequence that tells of the arrest, crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.

If successful, the project will fund research into how the piece would originally have been displayed, the construction of a new frame and bespoke stand, raising it to the required height for an altarpiece, some conservation of the carvings, and new, more meaningful, interpretation.

The project also proposes to grant access to the paintings currently hidden from view by allowing the shutters to be opened and closed to reveal the six paintings on the reverse - St Anthony, the family of Zebedee and the four fathers of the church, along with the signature mallet marks of the Guild.

Alison Nicholson, the museum’s project co-ordinator, said: “The conservation and redisplay will give visitors a greater understanding of the piece and its significance to the museum’s early religious art collection.

“I’m really excited about being involved in the first round of museums using the Art Fund’s new crowdfunding platform.

“It will be an amazing achievement to reveal and reunite our 15th century altarpiece and return it to its former glory.

“I really hope the public will donate to help make it happen.”

Rewards for pledges, which can be any amount from £5 to £1,000, include a range of products, behind the scenes access to the conservation studio, picture stores, archives and VIP tours with museum staff.

To donate, visit artfund.org/arthappens-bowes

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