Highlights

This page features some of our amazing artworks which are on display to the public. Photos do not show the full artwork in many cases.

Alfred Bernard Wall (c.1849-1923)

Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom 1879

Alabaster

Location: Main House, Foyer

Seat of Wisdom is one of a number of traditional devotional titles for the Virgin within the Catholic Church. It relates to Mary’s role as the vessel from which Christ was born. This fine and imposing sculpture, occupying an arched niche in the foyer of the Main House, was donated to Ushaw by the St Cuthbert’s Society.

19th Century School after François-Léon Benouville (1821-1859)

Saint Francis Blessing Assisi

Oil on canvas  

Location: Ambulacrum

This copy work shows St Francis (1181-1226) near the end of his life as he blesses his birthplace, Assisi, from Santa Maria Degli Angeli. In 1224, Francis had been praying on Mount La Verna during a forty-day fast. At this time, he had a vision and received the Impression of the Stigmata visible on his raised right hand.

19th Century School after Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640)

The Coup de Lance

Oil on canvas

Location: Ambulacrum

The original painting, upon which this work is based, was produced by Rubens for the Monastery of the Récollets in Antwerp. It was installed as the high altarpiece in 1620. The painting depicts Christ on the cross flanked by the penitent thief, with the impenitent thief depicted as a Roman centurion, who plunges his lance into Christ’s side. At the base of the cross Mary Magdalene beseechingly holds out her arms; to the right Mary (her fingers interlaced), and Mary of Clopas looks to heaven.

19th Century School after Raphael (1483-1520)

The Sistine Madonna

Oil on canvas

Location: Ambulacrum

Pope Julius II commissioned Raphael to paint the original upon which this work is based for the church of San Sisto, Piacenza. Raphael completed the painting in 1512. The Madonna and Child float on a cloud flanked by Saint Sixtus and Saint Barbara. Below, leaning on an imagined altar are two cherubim; the models for which may have been two children Raphael encountered in a street looking longingly into the window of a bakery.

James Ramsay (1789-1854)

Our Lord Curing the Blind

Oil on canvas 

Location: Ambulacrum

The likely subject of this painting is Christ curing Bartimaeus on the road out of Jericho as told in the Gospel of Mark (10:46-52). According to Mark, as Jesus was leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus called out, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Jesus called him over and cured him.  The crowd are shown in the half-light of an overcast day. In contrast, Jesus and his disciples are bathed in light, symbolising Christ’s healing power and the restored sight Bartimaeus has just experienced.

Attributed to Thomas Jenkins (c. 1722-1798) after Corregio

The Madonna of the White Rabbit or La Zingarella

Oil on canvas

Location: Ambulacrum

This painting shows the Virgin Mary as a gyspy girl - the literal translation of La Zingarella - during the Rest on the Flight into Egypt. It was once believed that rabbits conceived without intercourse so here, the rabbit symbolises the Immaculate Conception; its white coat embodying purity and holiness. The rabbit also has relevance for Ushaw. Three rabbits appear on the former college’s coat of arms in reference to the ancestral arms of William Allen, the founder of Ushaw’s predecessor college at Douai in Flanders.

18th Century School

Rest on the Flight into Egypt

Oil on canvas  

Location: The Parlour

Often, in depictions of the Rest on the Flight into Egypt, the Holy Family are shown in a landscape setting. Here, untypically, the figures are painted in an interior. As with other versions of the subject, an angel is depicted offering nourishment to Mary and Jesus; Joseph is often shown slightly apart as he is here.

This painting was donated to Ushaw by Bar Convent, York in 2015.

19th Century School after Peter Paul Rubens

The Mystic Marriage of St Catherine

Oil on canvas  

Location: The Parlour

This work depicts Catherine of Alexandria during her mystic marriage to the infant Christ. Catherine, legend relates, converted to Christianity and in a vision became a bride of Christ. Emperor Maxentius, having been rebuffed by Catherine, devised a spoked wheel upon which to torture her. The wheel, Catherine’s prime attribute, is visible below the Saint’s skirt. According to the story, a thunderbolt destroyed the wheel prior to Catherine’s martyrdom; she was subsequently beheaded.

Domenico Zampieri called Domenichino (1581-1641)

Extensive Landscape with Figures

Oil on canvas  

Location: The Parlour

In 1631, Domenichino moved to Naples to paint frescos in the chapels of the city’s Cathedral. At that time, a cabal of artists comprising Jusepe de Ribera, Battistello Caracciollo and Belisario Corenzio attempted to control all artistic commissions within the city by means or harassment and violence. It has been suggested that members of the cabal may have been responsible for Domenichino’s death in 1641.

Jan Fyt (1611-1661)

Still Life of Fruit and Game

Oil on canvas

Location: The Parlour

As this work illustrates, Fyt was a master of still life and animal painting. He flourished in what came to be called hunting pieces; game animals and birds often painted naturalistically outdoors. Fyt’s mastery in portraying animals, and dogs in particular, led to collaborations with other artists, including Peter Paul Rubens, Jacob Jordaens and Cornelis Schut, who engaged him to paint the animals in their works.

Luca Ferrari (1605-1654)

St Thomas Aquinas

Oil on copper 

Location: The Parlour

It is common to see St Thomas with a chalice or book and occasionally with a dove at his ear providing divine inspiration. Here, a host of angels appear to be undertaking a similar task. St Thomas is often shown with an ox; in his youth, he was quiet and contemplative prompting his fellow University of Paris students to call him ‘dumb ox’. The noted theologian is, however, shown with a quill and a sheet upon which to write - extant examples of his handwriting survive - reflecting the importance of Thomas’s written teachings.

Maerten de Vos (1532-1603) 

The Crucifixion

Oil on panel

Location: The Parlour

Born at Antwerp, de Vos travelled and studied in Italy from 1550 to 1558, most notably at Tintoretto’s studio in Venice. From this time, de Vos’s work began to reflect the palette and the Mannerist, High Renaissance style of the work he had seen in Italy.

In 1566, Calvinist Protestants destroyed Catholic churches in Antwerp and a number of de Vos’s paintings were lost. He was subsequently one of the artists responsible for redecorating the churches with new altarpieces.

The kneeling figure on the left is the Abbess of the Convent who commissioned this painting and had herself painted into the scene.

The Crucifixion was purchased at a sale in Belgium in 1835.

Salvator Rosa (1615-1673)

Figures in a Mountainous Landscape

Oil on canvas

Location: The Parlour

Perhaps Rosa’s  greatest legacy, is found in his mastery of picturesque landscapes. Often peopled with banditti and set in and beyond imagined classical ruins, Rosa’s landscapes influenced a number of later artists including J.M.W. Turner.

Follower of Giovanni Antonio Canal called Canaletto (1697-1768)

The Rialto Bridge and the Grand Canal, Venice

Oil on canvas 

Location: The Parlour

During the 1720s, Canaletto developed the detailed topographical style for which he is best known. Canaletto’s views - known as verduta - of Venice gained popularity with English visitors undertaking the cultural and educational trips to European cities known as the Grand Tour. When his sales to English tourists declined in the 1740s as a result of the Austrian War of Succession, Canaletto moved to England where the market for his works remained strong.

Follower of Giovanni Antonio Canal called Canaletto (1697-1768)

The Riva degli Schiavoni, Venice

Oil on canvas 

Location: The Parlour

College archive records suggest that both of Ushaw’s large Venetian views on display in the Parlour - may have been painted by William James (fl. 1754-1771). who painted in Canaletto’s style.

Geoffrey Webb (1879-1954)

Triptych of the English Martyrs 1937

Oil and gilt on panel 

Location: Chapels Cloister  

This striking three-sectioned panel painting commemorates 10 Catholic martyrs.  In the central panel, St John of Rochester and St Thomas More grip the handle of an axe. They were beheaded at Tower Hill, before the Tower of London seen in the background. In the left-hand panel, Richard Hurst, a farmer, is portrayed dressed in green and clutching ears of wheat. Margaret Clitheroe, kneeling in the foreground, is holding a collection of stones. St Margaret was executed in York by being crushed to death by rocks.

19th Century School

Saint Peter

Bronze

Location: Chapels Cloister

This is a reproduction of the well-known statue in Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City. The original was produced during the thirteenth century and is attributed to Arnolfo di Cambio (1245-1302).

Peter is shown with his usual attribute of the Key to the Kingdom of Heaven. In common with the original, the Saint’s right foot is worn away through rubbing. In years gone by, Ushaw’s students - and, no doubt, today’s visitors, touch the foot in the hope of future mercy and admittance to heaven.

After Stefano Maderno (c.1576-1636)

Martyrdom of Saint Cecilia c.1850

Marble  

Location: Chapels - Cloister

Three attempts were made to behead Saint Cecilia and all failed; she lived on for three days after the attempted execution. Following a burial in the Catacombs her body was transferred to the Church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome. In 1599 her tomb was opened and her body was found to be incorrupt. Maderno was then commissioned to sculpt Saint Cecilia. The original, life-size work, upon which our much smaller copy is based, is in the Church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere. This sculpture was donated to Ushaw by Bar Convent, York in 2015

Address: Ushaw: Historic House, Chapels & Gardens, near Durham City  DH7 9RH
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