THE Bowes Museum is celebrating after securing £21,000 to restore a 15th century renaissance altarpiece.

The target was reached on Thursday (August 14) with 194 people pledging money.

Alison Nicholson, digital communications and fundraising officer, said: “I’m absolutely over the moon, it’s very exciting and we are thrilled that we can now go ahead with the restoration.

“It’s a fantastic achievement for everybody involved. This past week has been nail-biting, but I think that people who have seen it and seen how beautiful it is obviously have stepped in to help.”

The large wooden altarpiece, which depicts the arrest, crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, sits on the wall in the museum, concealing the paintings that are on the back.

Painted by the Master of the View of St Godule, the work of art has been on display since museum founders John and Josephine Bowes bought the piece in 1859.

Now that the target has been reached, the restoration project will reveal the six hidden paintings, reattach wooden pillars that are in storage, and elevate it to recreate how the piece would have been displayed above the altar in a church.

Furniture conservator Rupert McBain will start working to restore the artwork in September.

There are plans to reveal the newly restored piece around Easter, and the Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, has agreed to unveil the piece.