Working the Landscape

Working the Landscape


A new exhibition at the Heaton Cooper Studio in Grasmere celebrates a century of Lakeland hill farming seen through the eyes of the Heaton Cooper family of artists, as depicted in their sketchbooks, paintings and sculpture.

From the 1880s onwards, when Alfred Heaton Cooper 1863-1929 first visited the Lake District, he took great interest in the working life of the people around him. These sketchbooks and paintings act as a record of the vanished way of life of Lakeland farming families; and show how sheep farming helped create the landscape we know today, from valley farms and fields up to the high fells.

William Heaton Cooper 1903-1995 continued his fatherís interest in the fell-farming life, especially the architecture of ancient farmhouses, barns and stone walls, and how they fitted into the mountain landscape.

Ophelia Gordon Bell 1915-1975, as Williamís wife and mother of their four children, was also a professional sculptor, and was fascinated by the figures of shepherds and their dogs, and by huntsmen with hounds, a familiar sight on the Lakeland fells, hunting both on foot and on horseback.

These artists worked a great deal out of doors and high up in the fells, like the shepherds did. Just as a thousand years of sheep farming has helped create the fabric of the actual Lake District landscape, so the work of the artists and writers over the last 200 years has re-created this landscape and established it in peopleís minds.

The exhibition is open every day from 9 til 5 until November 2nd in the newly refurbished studio space. Books on art and art techniques, and a comprehensive range of art materials are available to buy at the studio. Occasional demonstrations of various products will be advertised on the website- inspiration, instruction and materials all under one roof! The studio garden will be opening during the summer for people to sit in and sketch, or to simply enjoy the views of Stone Arthur and the surrounding fells.

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