MATHILDE’S

Mathilde’s Café at the Heaton Cooper Studio, Grasmere is the latest incarnation of a truly remarkable love story… a love of both landscape and of the heart…

We pick up the tale in London in 1884, when a young 20-year-old clerk from Bolton decides to give up his career to study art in the capital under one of the UK’s leading modern landscape painters, George Clausen.

Clausen an artist of some considerable note shared the view of many of the great Impressionist painters, that light is the real subject of landscape art…

A view which firmly resonated with Clausen’s young pupil Alfred Heaton Cooper... Alfred so influenced by the Impressionist movement cut short his studies to travel and embark on a quest to capture the very essence of the landscapes he would later surrounded himself with…

Yorkshire was his first port of call, where he followed in Turner’s footsteps for a brief time, before travelling to Morocco’s warmer climes… not content he once more struck out, this time for the Norwegian Fjords, which were to capture his heart in more ways than one…

Travelling extensively in Denmark, Sweden and then Norway, Cooper finally established a studio in the small village of Balestrand in 1891, beside the iconic Sognefjord (nicknamed the King of the Fjords), a place popular with tourists and artists; including the likes of Hans Gude, Augustine Normann, Johannes Flintoe and Hans Dahl.

Here Alfred met the love of his life Mathilde Marie Valentinsen… a gentle Norwegian country girl who stole away his heart…

Alfred first met Mathilde, the daughter of a leather dyer, in 1891. At first the pair were friendly but seemingly little else, however, this all changed by 1892, when Alfred proposed to Mathilde…

Short of funds Alfred was forced to return to England to sell pieces of work, and more importantly to allow him to amass enough funds to marry Mathilde… they married in Tjugum Church in September 1894 and so began the foundation of an artistic dynasty…

Ye mountains hoar frost of earthfast stone,
Where ancient Thor presides alone;
Ye fjords that smile in silver blue,
Each rock and isle, farwell to you.

The couple travelled to England in November 1894 to set up home, initially settling in Bolton, before moving to Southport, and then the Lake District in 1898, where the family finally settled.
To this day Mathilde’s Scandi heritage permeates the very essence of the Heaton Cooper Studio… the simple enjoyment of the good things in life with good people…