The Auckland Project

On Saturday July 1st 2023, we visited the Auckland Project in Bishop Auckland. We met in the town hall café before moving to the Auckland Tower for an orientation to start our visit. Members of staff welcomed us, then Andrew Young from the NCA Executive Committee, who had organised the summer meeting, talked us through the day. We then climbed to the top of the tower, designed by Nìall McLaughlin to echo a great wooden siege engine drawn up against the Castle’s fortifications, from where we could look over Bishop Auckland and the surrounding countryside.

Andrew advised us to split into separate groups when visiting the newly opened Spanish Gallery and the Mining Art Gallery. Both galleries have strikingly well-designed interiors and a range of exhibits in different media. Helpful staff were always on hand to answer questions, share suggestions, and draw our attention to points of interest.

We regathered for lunch in the Bishop’s Kitchen in Auckland Palace. After lunch, we made our way around the refurbished palace/castle. Each room has been meticulously curated to foreground different periods in the palace's history and the roles of its incumbents across English history. A visiting exhibition from the National Gallery on representations of Sin in art complemented the historical interiors.

We were all somewhat worn out after the many splendours of the day and so skipped the planned walk in the deer park and gardens. Many of us are keen to return to complete our visit and take another look at the stunning interiors, art and exhibits.

Thanks to Colin Dunnighan, Heather Cordell, and Gilbert Cockton for the photos.

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