A portrait of the Bishop of Durham has been unveiled at Auckland Castle marking the prominent religious figure’s retirement next year after 10 years of devoted service.
After working with Clare Baron at The Auckland Project to select an artist, Mark Roscoe was chosen for his warm style and ability to capture personalities.
The artist, who lives in Fife, Scotland, recognised the importance of the piece in a long history of portraits at Auckland Castle, and spent time with the Bishop to capture his personality and disposition.
The Bishop of Durham, the Right Reverend Paul Butler, said: “It is an extraordinary experience having one’s portrait painted.
“Mark Roscoe has produced a wonderful picture that I feel really captures me. I am hugely grateful to him and hope people enjoy viewing it for many years to come.”
The portrait depicts the faith leader in a suit bought for his daughter’s wedding, and the setting is the Oratory, a small private chapel at Auckland Castle where he conducts daily prayer.
The painting features significant religious possessions including his cross from the beginning of his Christian journey, an open Bible with delicately inserted notes which he often uses to preach, a beaded stick representing his strong links with Rwanda and Burundi, and a prayer rope gifted to him on the first Sunday in his new Diocese in 2014, offering regular reminders of his value to the community.
Clare Baron, head of exhibitions at The Auckland Project, said: “It’s a joy to see this beautiful painting displayed in Auckland Castle.
“Both the symbolism of the objects and setting is rather special, and tells the story of the Bishop’s devotion to God, his peers and the public.
“Viewers will see a window which looks across the courtyard and beyond to the outside world and community which the Right Reverend Paul Butler cares deeply for.”
“As a regeneration charity with a long history in faith and art, we feel extremely privileged to hang this portrait in Auckland Castle, where our visitors have a strong appreciation for the local area, and want to learn more about the fascinating people that make Bishop Auckland such a special place,” added Clare.
Auckland Castle is part of a collection of attractions where visitors can view art in the historic town of Bishop Auckland.
Among them are the Spanish Gallery, which is home to master paintings from the Spanish Golden Age, the Mining Art Gallery, showcasing the unique culture and heritage of the mining industry, and the soon to be opened Faith Museum.
Together, The Auckland Project’s attractions tell the remarkable story of Bishop Auckland, from the powerful Prince Bishops of Durham to the town’s surprising connection to the Golden Age of Spanish Art.