Three exhibitions launch at Ushaw Historic House, Chapels & Gardens on the same day in March.

Art and architecture Things to see and do

Art enthusiasts are in for a treat this Spring as three new exhibitions open at Ushaw on Saturday 23 March. Displayed across Ushaw’s galleries and Chapels, the three exhibitions showcase the history and art of maps, contemporary printmaking, and fashion design.



A cultural beacon, Ushaw boasts an extensive collection of paintings, sculptures and social and religious objects, many of which are on permanent display in its historically significant buildings. In addition to the collection, Ushaw curates an ongoing and diverse programme of cultural events, exhibitions and artist residencies across the estate.


A Century of Wedding Gowns

 Witness the beauty and elegance of these timeless gowns, as a display of over 70 wedding dresses, will be shown throughout Ushaw’s stunning suite of Chapels. Showcasing a range of styles and designs perfect for those in the midst of wedding planning or seeking inspiration for their own special day. From classic to modern, the exhibition provides something for every bride-to-be to marvel at.

A Century of Wedding Gowns explores how gown styles and materials have changed over the decades, including those borrowed and adapted in wartime. Each dress has a story to tell about the bride, the time and the place. Insightful accompanying information provides background and context for each of the displayed gowns.

Curated by wedding dress collector and designer, Kevin Thornhill, A Century of Wedding Gowns showcases original gowns and reproductions of dresses worn by royalty including Princess Diana, the Princess of Wales and Megan, Duchess of Sussex. Other highlights include a dress made and designed by Coco Chanel.

In addition to the exhibition, on Friday 19 April 2024, Ushaw will be hosting The Wedding Walk, an exclusive fashion show to complement the exhibition. Tickets for the event can be pre-booked here.


On the Map

It is time to embark on a journey, a world tour that crosses countries and continents and spans half a millennium of time in On the Map: Treasures from Ushaw’s Library Collection. The exhibition highlights some of the significant maps and atlases in Ushaw’s Library collection including John Speed’s remarkable county maps of 1611 and Gerardus Mercator’s Atlas dating to 1637.

On the Map presents a fascinating exploration of the evolution of cartography over the past five centuries through a display of many of the significant maps and atlases from the collection. The exhibition provides visitors with enlarged reproductions of 90 maps alongside the rare and important original volumes displayed in cases, giving a comprehensive insight into the historical progression of mapping techniques and the shaping of the world as we know it today.


Ushaw Editions

In collaboration with long-term partners Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair (WCPF) the new Library Gallery will host Ushaw Editions, an exhibition highlighting the annual Ushaw Residency and Acquisition Prize.

Each year Ushaw hosts a two-week residency program at its distinctive heritage site near Durham, where artists are invited to respond to its extensive permanent collection of art, design and architecture.The new work produced in response to the residency is exhibited at WCPF and an edition of the print is acquired for Ushaw’s permanent collection.

This year’s Ushaw Editions brings together the works of three previous resident artists Maite Cascón, Natasha Michaels and Lindsey Moran. The exhibition reflects the residency experience and offers visitors the opportunity to view these unique responses to Ushaw and its collections.

The new prints will exclusively be available to purchase throughout the exhibition, with all profits going back into the running of the historic house and grounds.

Andrew Heard, Visitor Programmes Manager and Exhibition Curator at Ushaw said ”We are thrilled to be launching three new exhibitions on the same day. These fascinating exhibitions – celebrating maps, fashion design and contemporary art – will appeal to regular visitors and those discovering Ushaw for the first time.”


On the Map: Treasures from Ushaw’s Library Collection, A Century of Royal Wedding Gowns & The Ushaw Editions open from Saturday 23 March and run through until 23 June 2024 (with the exception of A Century of Royal Wedding Gowns, which is on display until Monday 6 May 2024. Open daily 11am – 4pm, exhibition access is included in the price of admission.

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