TREE BID: The Bowes Museum’s fundraising officer, Alison Nicholson and director of the Bowes Centre for Arts, Craft and Design, Matthew Read, with a piece of the monkey puzzle tree
TREE BID: The Bowes Museum’s fundraising officer, Alison Nicholson and director of the Bowes Centre for Arts, Craft and Design, Matthew Read, with a piece of the monkey puzzle tree

ART lovers are being given the chance to own a piece of The Bowes Museum’s heritage after a campaign was launched to turn a cherished tree into commemorative bowls.

The museum’s founders, John and Josephine Bowes, planted a monkey puzzle tree in the grounds in 1871. It died last year and was recently felled.

A Kickstarter campaign has been launched to celebrate its life, the museum’s 125th anniversary and the opening of the new Bowes Centre for Art, Craft and Design. The aim is to raise £10,000 to turn the remains of the tree into up to 125 hand-turned bowls for supporters to own as well as a larger Bowes Bowl which will be added to the museum’s collection.

Fundraising officer Alison Nicholson said: “For us to just cut it up and not do anything with it would not be in keeping with John and Josephine’s legacy.

“We had to choose something useful and we have got an amazing design. Everyone can use a bowl.”

At the time of going to print, £3,277 had been pledged by 32 backers in just four days. The target must be reached by July 13 for the project to go-ahead.

Someone who pledges £75 will receive a hand-crafted bowl made from the tree’s seasoned wood or £125 will buy a limited edition bowl inset with a numbered bronze medallion – only 125 of these will be created. 

Sam Turner

There will be 25 silver inset bowls for pledges of £500. One backer could become the patron of the Bowes Bowl and receive a replica for home if they pledge £6,250. 

Limited edition keyrings are available for £12 and a bespoke pack of seeds to grow your own monkey puzzle tree is available for £15 pledges. All rewards will be created by northern craftspeople.

Meanwhile, a £10 pledge will fund a 10kg pack of hardwood briquettes from Barnard Castle’s Warm Age Wood Company to keep someone warm this winter.

The director of the Bowes Centre for Arts, Craft and Design, Matthew Read, said: “The monkey puzzle tree is not part of the museum’s collection but it is part of our organic heritage that we will not get again.

“You can’t take any other part of the museum’s collection with you.

“This is a real piece of the Bowes history.”

To pledge visit www.kickstarter.com and search MP125.