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Own your own piece of The Bowes Museum's heritage! Pledge to turn our magnificent Monkey Puzzle into contemporary hand crafted bowls.
133 backers pledged £12,437 to help bring this project to life.

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£12,437

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This year we celebrate our 125th anniversary and the legacy of two amazing people, John and Joséphine Bowes. Not only did they share a love for one other, but in the heart of Teesdale created a breathtaking Museum to celebrate their love of art. In the grounds of the Museum under construction, John Bowes planted a specially selected Monkey Puzzle tree, purchased from Mr Lane of Great Berkhampsted, Hertfordshire. The tree travelled North by train and was planted in the summer of 1871. John and Joséphine lavished special care on the tree throughout its juvenile years.

Business card of Lane & Sons from the Museum archive
Business card of Lane & Sons from the Museum archive

In the Museum's archive we have some interesting documents about the tree's provenance and its importance to John and Joséphine

The tree thrived and was photographed by Elijah Yeoman, a local photographer, in 1930.

Photograph of The Bowes Museum taken in 1930 by Elijah Yeoman (1849-1930), in which the monkey puzzle appears prominently
Photograph of The Bowes Museum taken in 1930 by Elijah Yeoman (1849-1930), in which the monkey puzzle appears prominently

Unfortunately, last year the tree died and to ensure the safety of the public, we had to have its branches removed. Its totem pole-like appearance intrigued visitors and sparked stories from Barnard Castle residents who remember playing under it as children. 

Monkey Puzzle trunk still standing
Monkey Puzzle trunk still standing

To celebrate its life, our 125th anniversary and the opening of a new Bowes Centre for Art, Craft and Design at the Museum, headed up by Director, Matthew Read, we would like you to help us raise £10,000 to turn this magnificent tree into up to 125 hand-turned bowls for supporters to own and a larger version, the 'Bowes Bowl' which will be added into the Museum's collection for posterity.  

Matthew's sketch of the limited edition hand-turned bowls
Matthew's sketch of the limited edition hand-turned bowls

Using seasoned wood from the actual Monkey Puzzle Tree, the first tree to be bought and planted in the grounds by John Bowes, we will create up to 125 hand-turned bowls measuring approximately 8 inches in diameter, each inset with a central cast bronze medallion bearing an inscription describing the provenance of the material. By pledging £125, you will own one of these exclusive heirloom artefacts; a never-to-be-repeated piece of Bowes Museum history. Your bowl will be part of a strict limited edition of 125. 

Our affectionately named 'noggin' complete with white picket fence
Our affectionately named 'noggin' complete with white picket fence

Or treat yourself from a wide range of quirky, one-off rewards whilst supporting this creative project with pledges from £1 to £6,250. All design work, wood turning and manufacture will be carried out by regional Northern artists, businesses and craftspeople.

Keep someone warm this winter
Keep someone warm this winter

If a piece of John Bowes history doesn't float your boat or budget, then we've heaps of other rewards. Why not splash out on a wooden keyring which has the same provenance as the bowl, or a packet of monkey puzzle seeds (of Scottish decent as our tree was a male and sadly didn't produce seeds) to plant your own fine specimens. Or give yourself that warm feeling inside by supporting the campaign and donating a pack of hardwood briquettes to the fuel vulnerable this winter.

Grow Your Own Monkey Puzzle Tree, (Chilean Pine), Araucaria Araucana with 10 seeds in a bespoke contemporary packet
Grow Your Own Monkey Puzzle Tree, (Chilean Pine), Araucaria Araucana with 10 seeds in a bespoke contemporary packet

If you love trees, craft, The Bowes Museum, history, home interiors, nature, woodlands, ecology or the warm feeling of making something important happen, then please pledge. Thanks for your support :)

Risks and challenges

There are few risks to the project. The tree has been felled and whilst the tree had died, the wood is of good quality and, once kiln-dried should be of suitable nature to turn.

Using local craftspeople means that timescales for producing the rewards may be delayed in extreme circumstances, but if this happens, backers will be notified and given regular updates about when to expect delivery.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £1 or more About $1.26

    Thank You

    Every £1 is important to us, so for pledging your support we'll give you a great big thank you on social media from the bottom of our heart.

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    Pledge £5 or more About $6

    Postcard of the Monkey Puzzle in 1930

    Elijah Yeoman (1849-1930) was born at Arkleside in Coverdale. In the 1870s he became involved in a photographic business in Barnard Castle in County Durham, where his output was of exceptionally high quality. In 1930 he took a photo of the Monkey Puzzle in the grounds of the Museum. For pledging just £5, we'll send you a copy of this fascinating photograph.

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    Pledge £10 or more About $13

    Briquettes for the Fuel Vulnerable

    Give yourself a warm glow inside by pledging £10 to our Kickstarter campaign and fund the cost of one 10kg pack of beech and alder hardwood briquettes from Barnard Castle's Warm Age Wood Company for an old person to keep them toasty warm in the winter. The briquettes are made from 100% recycled beech and alder, have long burn times and are easy to handle.

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    Pledge £12 or more About $15

    Monkey Puzzle Keyring

    Carry a little piece of our iconic 150 year old tree around in your pocket or bag. A unique limited edition wooden 'Mon-key ring'!

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    Pledge £15 or more About $19

    Grow Your Own!

    Fancy growing your very own Monkey Puzzle tree in the garden? In return for £15, receive a bespoke pack of 10 Araucaria Araucana seeds. Being a male of the species, our tree didn't produce any seeds so the seeds will be from a distant relative of the Bowes tree but could grow into a tree equally magnificent.

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    Pledge £75 or more About $94

    Hand-turned Monkey Puzzle Bowl

    Want to receive your very own piece of Bowes history in the form of a beautiful hand-turned bowl made from seasoned wood from John Bowes' beloved Monkey Puzzle tree? This contemporary piece created by local craftsmen will look stunning in any home.

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    Pledge £125 or more About $157

    Limited Edition Commemorative Bowl

    A hand-turned bowl made from seasoned wood from John Bowes' Monkey Puzzle tree, inset with a numbered bronze medallion. To commemorate the Museum's 125th anniversary up to 125 of these unique bowls will be created. Secure your very own piece of nostalgia and heritage, and make the Monkey Puzzle legacy a reality.

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    Pledge £500 or more About $629

    Silver Inset Monkey Puzzle Bowl

    For silver-lovers, a version of the limited edition 125 commemorative bowls with bronze inset medallions, but this time inset with our own Bowes Centre hall-marked silver medallions. A truly luxurious memento of the Museum's heritage with an extremely limited edition of the silver insets with up to just 25 being created.

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    Pledge £6,250 or more About $7,863

    Patronage of the Bowes Bowl

    Be the Patron of a magnificent Bowes bowl which will be accessioned to the collection for posterity, with a replica for yourself. These two large hand-turned bowls will be made with seasoned wood from John Bowes' Monkey Puzzle tree and inset with a bronze medallion explaining the provenance of the wood and the purpose of the legacy project.

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Funding period

- (49 days)