Heaton Cooper paintings are stars of the big screen

The paintings of Lakeland’s best-loved artists are hitting the big screen once again.

Keen-eyed viewers of the newly-released movie Supernova, starring Colin Firth, will spot pictures by William and Alfred Heaton Cooper on the walls of the house which features in the film.

The blockbuster was filmed across locations in the Lake District, and a house in Keswick had a make-over for the interior scenes. The set designers approached the Heaton Cooper Studio in Grasmere, which houses a vast range of paintings by Alfred Heaton Cooper (1863 – 1927) and his son William (1903 – 1995).

Directed and written by Harry Macqueen, Supernova follows a gay couple, one of them diagnosed with early onset dementia, travelling across England in their old campervan and visiting places from their past.

A clip from Supernova, with Alfred Heaton Cooper in the background

The movie’s Hollywood crew spent six weeks filming in various places in the Lake District. Oscar-winner Colin Firth, and Hunger Games star, Stanley Tucci, were spotted at several iconic locations including Buttermere and Crummock Water. Most of the film was shot around Keswick, including the market, and Theatre by the Lake, as well as Honister and Whinlatter.

But movie appearances are nothing new for the legendary artists. Perhaps most famously, three paintings by William Heaton Cooper can be seen in the first of the Harry Potter films, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The framed pictures, of Lake District scenes, are displayed on the staircase of the Privet Drive home of the Dursleys (the Muggle family who took Harry Potter in after Lord Voldemort killed his parents).

The staircase at the Dursley’s house in Harry Potter…

Subsequently, the paintings have been placed on permanent display in the Dursley’s house at the major tourist attraction, The Making of Harry Potter in London.

And last year, Heaton Cooper paintings were also on the small screen in the TV drama series, Deep Water, which starred Anna Friel. Their distinctive style could be spotted in many interior scenes which were shot in the house called Balla Wray, on the west shore of Windermere.

Set against the backdrop of the lake, the six-part drama was penned by screenwriter Anna Symon, and adapted from the Windermere series of novels by critically-acclaimed author Paula Daly. It followed the lives of three complex and vibrant women, each trying to do their best for their families, but facing tough choices with difficult and often messy repercussions.

Anna Friel – and William Heaton Cooper – in Deep Water

Over the years, Heaton Cooper paintings have appeared on screen many times, including in episodes of Coronation Street, Doctors, and Midsomer Murders. Becky Heaton Cooper, director of the Grasmere studio and gallery which houses many of the paintings, is the grand-daughter of William and the great-grand-daughter of Alfred Heaton Cooper. She said: “It’s wonderful that these paintings are considered to be so iconic of the Lake District and its landscape. To see them on the walls in dramas set in the Lakes is a tribute to the research carried out by the production teams.

“But the Harry Potter connection is much more tenuous. It does make us think, though, that perhaps the Dursleys were not quite so horrid as Harry Potter would have us think. They clearly had good artistic taste…”