Durham University: Explore the beauty of Spanish art

The Zurbarán Centre promotes understanding of the visual arts in Spain and Latin America through cutting-edge research, innovative exhibition projects, and a dynamic programme of fellowships, doctoral scholarships, and events.

We launched the Centre in 2017 with The Auckland Project, which is dedicated to the regeneration, conservation and celebration of the stories and heritage of the former home of the Prince Bishops of Durham, in Bishop Auckland, County Durham.

Introducing the Spanish Gallery
Now The Auckland Project is opening a new Spanish Gallery, also in Bishop Auckland – the first gallery in the UK dedicated to the art, history and culture of Spain.

Influenced by The Auckland Project founder Jonathan Ruffer and his collection, the Gallery explores Spain’s ‘Golden Age’ through religious art, portraiture, still life painting and architecture.

Visitors will come across the period’s key figures, such as El Greco, Zurbarán, Velázquez, and Murillo and many other exceptional Spanish artists, whose names are almost unknown outside Spain.

The Gallery’s core collection is complemented by long-term loans from British and international private and public collections, including artworks from the Hispanic Society of America in New York, which have never been shown in the UK before.

The Gallery complements the significant European collections at The Bowes Museum, in nearby Barnard Castle, and gives context to the remarkable Jacob and his Twelve Sons series of paintings by Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664), which have been at Auckland Castle for more than 250 years.

Our support for the Gallery
We are thrilled to support the Spanish Gallery in promoting Spanish art and culture in the UK and beyond and to extend our expertise to facilitate original research projects relating to its collections.

Prof Claudia Hopkins, Director of the Zurbarán Centre, said: “The series of Zurbarán paintings at Auckland Castle and the new collection at the Spanish Gallery represent a unique and valuable resource for students, scholars and the general public to discover and study Spanish art in County Durham.

“We are looking forward to the much-anticipated opening of the Gallery and our future collaborations with Jonathan Ruffer and his team.”