Following on from the fantastic work underway at Auckland Castle, Meldrum have recently begun an exciting new project in Bishop Auckland town centre. Inspired by the masterpieces of Francisco de Zurbaran that currently hang in Auckland Castle dining room; plans are underway to create an art Gallery dedicated to Spanish Art which is due to open in 2019.
The £5.5m project is to house exhibitions of Spanish art from Medieval times through to the present day, with a focus on the 17th Century which is known as the Golden Century or ‘Siglo de Oro’ of Spanish art and literature.
Behind the façade of a former school and bank works have already begun with some demolition of small buildings at the rear of the site, and scaffolding being put up at the front and on the roof. Over the next few weeks foundations will be laid for the rear extension; the roof will be removed and cleaning works will begin on the stone work front.
Mechanical & Electrical services are critical to this project to ensure the required conditions are met within the gallery areas. stringent security measures need to be built in to the new and existing building fabrics and there is 6-month conditioning period to take place following completion – this is in order to make sure the gallery is granted the correct insurance backing that will allow high level artwork to be loaned from other galleries.
The Spanish Gallery will comprise of 10 exhibition spaces over three floors, including a dramatic top-lit double-height space for some of the larger pieces, as well as an art history library, café and gift shop. The project is also in partnership with a Durham University research centre; this will link new academic study to the new gallery’s exhibition programme thus creating a space for students and the public to visit and enjoy.