WORLD renowned masterpieces are coming to County Durham as a new art gallery prepares to open its doors.

Launching in Bishop Auckland on Saturday, June 1, the Bishop Trevor Gallery, part of The Auckland Project, will offer a programme of special temporary exhibitions, displaying fine art on loan from national institutions and private collections.

The first exhibition will feature works by masters such as Thomas Gainsborough and George Stubbs.

The new gallery is housed within 900-year-old Auckland Castle and has been named after Bishop Richard Trevor, Bishop of Durham from 1752 to 1771, who lived at the castle and left a legacy of art in the town.

The Bishop was a serious art collector and gathered a large collection at Auckland Castle, including Jacob and His Twelve Sons by Spanish master, Francisco de Zurbarán, which he purchased in 1756.

The life-sized paintings have hung in the Castle’s Long Dining Room for over 250 years, and during the Castle’s conservation, have travelled to Dallas, Texas, New York and Jerusalem, putting Bishop Auckland on the map for art-lovers the world over.

Created by The Auckland Project, which owns Auckland Castle, the Bishop Trevor Gallery honours Bishop Trevor’s legacy, bringing famous masterpieces and original works to the town for all generations to enjoy.

The new gallery space sits within a suite of apartments in Auckland Castle, which were first built for Bishop Trevor in the 18th century and have never been open to the public before.

Originally designed by one of the most renowned architects of the time, John Carr of York, the apartments were specially arranged so that the picturesque views of the landscaped Deer Park and surrounding County Durham scenery could be easily admired from the windows.

The first temporary exhibition in the Bishop Trevor Gallery has also taken inspiration from these views, exploring the rich history and beauty of British landscape painting.

The exhibition will take visitors through the origins of British landscape painting in the mid-1700s to its development into one of the most enduring and significant genres of British art.

Clare Baron, head of interpretation and exhibitions at The Auckland Project, said: “The first British landscape artists created the traditional ‘chocolate box’ view of England with their idealised depictions of rolling green hills, quaint country lanes and dramatic mountain ranges.

“These vivid and romantic painted scenes captured the public imagination as never before and landscape painting soared in popularity with people flocking to areas such as the Lake District and Wales to immerse themselves in this newfound sense of ‘picturesque’ natural beauty.

“This exhibition is an opportunity to delve deeper into these beautiful landscapes, understanding the social and artistic forces that inspired and influenced artists such as Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough and George Stubbs.”

The Origins of British Landscape will run until Sunday, September 8. The gallery is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10am to 4pm.

Entry is £5 for adults, £4 for concessions and £1 for under 16s.

Visitors coming to Bishop Trevor Gallery will also be able to take a sneak peek inside Auckland Castle, which is currently closed to the public while a multi-million pound programme of conservation is taking place.

The Castle is due to re-open later in 2019, for more information on the work visit

Tickets can be booked online at, by calling 01388-743797 or at The Auckland Tower visitor centre in Bishop Auckland. For more information, email