CEEH Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica

The Sculptural Works in the Spanish Gallery


Marjorie Trusted


120 pages; 51 color illustrations; flapped paperback; 16 x 24 cm


English; preface by Jonathan Ruffer; jointly published with the Spanish Gallery; 2024





The collection of Spanish sculpture at Bishop Auckland, both chronologically and in terms of subject matter, presents the reader with a virtually encyclopaedic view of Spanish art from medieval times through to the nineteenth century. Many of the pieces – whether devotional for private observance, to be displayed in a church or as forming part of an architectural gateway – were originally polychromed and gilded, and virtually all depict religious subjects. The present catalogue is the first scholarly study of these intriguing and sometimes enigmatic works of art. The artists who created them, as well as the iconography and style of the sculptures, are discussed in the wider context of Spanish art.

The sculptures on display today in the Spanish Gallery, comprising exquisite medieval, Renaissance and Baroque pieces, should be admired for their extraordinary directness and visual drama. They can be seen as part of a European sculptural tradition, where feeling is demonstrated by means of colour – perhaps the most striking and memorable feature of sculpture from Spain – and often anguished human forms, and where piety is revealed through the portrayal of sensitively created figures in religious scenes carved in wood or stone or modelled in clay. Regardless of their precise provenance or places of origin, the sculptures at Bishop Auckland are striking and important examples of Spanish art, vital strands in the European sculptural tradition.

Marjorie Trusted (also known as Holly Trusted), who gained her PhD at the University of Cambridge, is Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and co-founder and co-chair of the Public Statues and Sculpture Association, as well as founding editor of the Sculpture Journal. She was Senior Curator of Sculpture at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) until 2018 and has lectured and published widely on sculpture. She is the author of a catalogue of Spanish sculpture at the V&A (1996), a study of the arts of Iberia and Latin America (2007) and a book on Baroque sculpture in Germany and Central Europe (2022). In addition, she contributed to the exhibition catalogue, The Arts of Latin America 1492–1820 in 2006. She was CEEH Research Fellow at the Zurbarán Centre at Durham University and is currently working on a book with Catherine Hall-van den Elsen on the Spanish sculptor Luisa Roldán.