AN exhibition celebrating the role of food in art over the past five centuries has gone down a treat at a North-East museum.

Since Feast Your Eyes opened at The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, in October, the museum has recorded a 34 per cent increase in visitors compared to the same period last year.

Ranging from Arcimboldo’s fantasy paintings of the 16th century to still life photographs by Irving Penn in the 20th Century, the exhibition looks at how food is used to convey a story, a message, as symbolism or decoration.

It also considers the changing fashions in food and how these influenced artists’ depictions of food in their work.

The exhibition ends its successful run on Sunday, January 6 – but officials have cooked up one final treat before it closes.

Food historian Ivan Day, who appears regularly on television - most recently in BBC2’s Royal Upstairs Downstairs and BBC4’s Calf’s Head & Coffee: The Golden Age of English Food - will give a lecture and food demonstration at the museum on Friday, January 4, at 2.15pm.

Tickets for the talk, which cost £6, must be booked by calling 01833-690606.

Mr Day has also contributed three-dimension recreations of two paintings to the exhibition - a still life by Joséphine Bowes and a watercolour of a Victorian supper party to celebrate a royal visit, from a private collection.

A cookery book based on recipes from the museum’s café has also been produced to accompany the exhibition.