The State Rooms
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Grandeur and Splendour
The architecture, art and setting of Auckland Castle reflect the grandeur and power of England’s only Prince Bishops. They employed the best architects and craftsmen to create their palace, and bought magnificent artworks to furnish it.
Saturday 2 April 2016 - Tuesday 1 May 2018
Many of Auckland Castle’s historic interiors are masterpieces of Georgian Gothic Revival architecture, designed for Bishop Shute Barrington by the leading 18th-century architect James Wyatt. Wyatt emphasised the power of the Prince Bishops through the creation of an impressive processional route into the State Rooms.
Entering through the formal State Entrance, visitors climbed the grand staircase from the Gentleman’s Hall, with its commanding views across the River Wear. They were held in the Anteroom before being summoned to approach the Bishop in the Throne Room. Seated upon his throne, the Bishop heard petitions and managed the administration of his extensive lands. This grand space also hosted extravagant celebrations.
Visitors entered the rooms beyond the Throne Room only on the Bishop’s personal invitation. The Long Dining Room houses the jewel of Auckland Castle’s collection, the paintings of Jacob and his Twelve Sons by the Spanish master Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664), which have hung here for 250 years.
The two further rooms in the Bishop’s private apartments currently house a programme of stimulating temporary exhibitions.