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23rd January 2012
A series of valuable paintings at Auckland Castle in County Durham, recently rescued from sale by the Church Commissioners, will be the subject of the next talk for Ripon Civic Society at its meeting on Thursday 2 February.

The talk, ‘The Zurburán Paintings at Auckland Castle’ will be given by Dr Robert McManners, who as Chairman of Bishop Auckland Civic Society has been one of the leaders of the campaign to save the pictures by the 17th-century Spanish artist Francisco de Zurburán – as well as Auckland Castle itself.

Painted between 1640 and 1645, the pictures show Jacob and his twelve sons (the painting of Benjamin is a later copy of the original). They have been at Auckland Castle, until recently the home of the Bishop of Durham, since 1756. They have now been sold to a local businessman, Jonathan Ruffer, for £15m; he intends that they remain in the Castle on public display.

David Winpenny, Chairman of Ripon Civic Society, says, ‘The Zurburáns are a wonderful set of paintings, and a rare treasure for the area. We are very much looking forward to Dr McManners’ talk, which will set the paintings in their historical context and shed light on their location in the Castle.’

The meeting takes place at Allhallowgate Methodist Church Hall in Victoria Grove, Ripon, and starts at 7.30pm. Non-members pay £3.00 for the evening.

The March talk will take place on Thursday 1 March, when Dr Richard Shephard, York Minster's Chamberlain and Director of Development at York Minster, will talk on ‘The Restoration of the East Front of York Minster’.

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