‘Shafts of Light: Mining Art in the Great Northern Coalfield’ installation

We have had a great first week installing our next exhibition ‘Shafts of Light: Mining Art in the Great Northern Coalfield’ which is curated by Gillian Wales and Dr Robert McManners and opens on 17 May.

One of the first works to go up was Stephen Hannock’s breathtaking ‘Northern City Renaissance’. This beautiful painting celebrates both Newcastle and Gateshead’s glorious industrial heritage, iconic architecture and their regeneration.

Stephen Hannock's breathtaking 'Northern Renaissance"
Stephen Hannock’s breathtaking ‘Northern City Renaissance’

This monumental painting arrived in three sections, the largest of which only just squeezed into the building with centimetres to spare. Our wonderfully skilled art handlers then had to reassemble the three pieces with millimetre precision, before hanging it on the wall. Come along and find out more about the region’s coal mining heritage or just marvel at the Sage and the Angel of the North in Stephen Hannock’s wonderful landscape.

Installation of 'Northern Renaissance'
Installation of ‘Northern City Renaissance’


By Emma House, Keeper of Fine Art


2 thoughts on “‘Shafts of Light: Mining Art in the Great Northern Coalfield’ installation

  1. Wow…. Great work gang!
    When Robert McManners requested the large incarnation of “Northern City Renaissance” I was dubious that the piece could even fit into the remarkable Bowes Museum. But you did it. Well done! My partners at Marlborough Fine Art and I are incredibly honored to be included in such an important show. (Americans can’t believe that painters actually went into the mines to paint their brethren…many after having finished a brutal shift themselves.)

    I also pass along congratulations from Sting…who is thrilled to learn that this composition is being appreciated at the Bowes. (His overlapping story…in the form of the musical “The Last Ship” opens on Broadway in New York this October.)

    Best wishes…and many thanks,

    Stephen Hannock
    Williamstown, Massachusetts


    1. Hi Stephen,

      Thanks for your great comments. We are thrilled to have your work ‘Northern City Renaissance’ in our ‘Shafts of Light’ exhibition. It is an amazingly detailed painting, and, yes, it was a bit of a squeeze getting it into the Museum, but it looks beautiful in the gallery!

      The exhibition of mining art has been really well received so far by visitors and the media, and at the preview evening on Friday 16th May there was a real buzz of appreciation and enthusiasm. As it runs until 21st September, you and Sting would both be very welcome to visit and have a guided tour of the exhibition to see your composition in situ. Let us know if you are in the UK. It would be wonderful to meet you and gain an insight into ‘Northern City Renaissance’.

      With very best wishes,

      Alison Nicholson
      Digital Communications Officer


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