The Bowes Museum is a hidden treasure, a jewel in the heart of beautiful Teesdale. The magnificent building stands proud in the historic market town of Barnard Castle housing internationally significant collections of fine and decorative arts.
Purpose built in the 19th century by John and Joséphine Bowes, the Museum has a wonderful story to tell.
John Bowes was a successful businessman who travelled to Paris in 1847 to explore his interest in the arts. It was here he bought a theatre and met the Parisian actress Joséphine Coffin-Chevallier whom he married in 1852. Joséphine was a talented amateur painter who was interested in a whole range of art forms including paintings, ceramics, furniture and textiles. Soon the couple began to develop the idea of creating a world-class museum back in John’s ancestral home of Teesdale in order to introduce the wider world of art to the local people.