Another evening of poetry with the Wordsworths

The hugely successful evening of poetry, with members of the Wordsworth family reading work by the great poet, is to be staged again at Rydal Mount.

Christopher Andrew, and Simon Bennie, who are the great great great great grandsons of the poet William Wordsworth, will be reading some poetry to guests at the exclusive event at the end of this month (Oct 29).

The Wordsworth family still own the house where the poet lived for much of his life, and from where he wrote most of his greatest work. This summer there has been work on the house itself, decorating, adding new items of historic interest.

Christopher Andrew

In the gardens, work continues to develop the different areas of lawn, woodland, shrubs and borders as planned originally by Wordsworth himself.

Christopher said: “We are starting a little earlier, (5pm) so that people can see the garden in the light. For those who would like to come again we cannot promise 100% new poems – but we will be mixing it up a bit.”

The event will include a tour of the house and gardens, a glass of wine, and Grasmere gingerbread. A limited number of tickets is now on sale, at £25 per head, via this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wordsworths-read-wordsworth-tickets-188193962207

Christmas fair at Wordsworth’s home

A Christmas gifts and craft fair will be held in Wordsworth’s home at Rydal Mount in December.

The two-day event will feature some of the county’s best artists and makers of glass, ceramics and jewellery along with cards and prints.

Copies of poetry and other books signed by members of the Wordsworth family will also be on sale.

The fair – on the weekend of Saturday and Sunday December 11 and 12 – will have live music, mulled wine and mince pies in the tea-room, and it’s hoped that craft workshops will be staged in the garden gazebos.

Lakeland Stitch

Tickets for the fair, which includes access to the house and all its exhibits, will be £12 (£6 for children) with a reduced price by booking online in advance. Advance tickets will go on sale via the Rydal Mount website in November.

Moongazer cards

Among those already signed up to take part are Jane Exley of the Woolly Rug co, Letty Ashworth of Lakeland Stitch, and Sally Anne Lambert of Moongazer Cards.

The great-great-great-great grandsons of William Wordsworth, Christopher Andrew and Simon Bennie, are organising the fair. Christopher said: “The house and gardens are the perfect setting for a Christmas celebration.”

Wordsworths read Wordsworth

An evening of poetry at Rydal Mount promises a rare chance to hear Wordsworths reading Wordsworth.

Christopher Andrew, and Simon Bennie, who are the great great great great grandsons of the poet William Wordsworth, will be reading some poetry to guests at the exclusive event next month.

The Wordsworth family still own the house where the poet lived for much of his life, and from where he wrote most of his greatest work. This summer there has been work on the house itself, decorating, adding new items of historic interest, and there is an ongoing exhibition in the attic study of the paintings of Hideyuki Sobue, a Japanese artist resident in the UK.

Christopher Andrew

In the gardens, work continues to develop the different areas of lawn, woodland, shrubs and borders as planned originally by Wordsworth himself.

Simon Bennie

The event, on Friday September 17, will include a tour of the house and gardens, a glass of wine, and Grasmere gingerbread. A limited number of tickets is now on sale, at £25 per head, via this link:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wordsworths-read-wordsworth-tickets-168262243901

The evening will start at 6pm.

Champions of natural beauty in the Lakes

A fascinating new exhibition highlighting two key figures in the Lake District has opened here at Rydal Mount.

The exhibition of paintings by Hideyuki Sobue features two men who championed natural beauty in the Lakes, Wordsworth himself, and Canon Harwicke Rawnsley, one of the founders of the National Trust – who was born a year after the death of Wordsworth.

Hideyuki and the Wordsworth portrait

Two big portraits of each figure in the double-vision style are accompanied by a number of smaller paintings by Hideyuki, who is the leading Japanese artist based in the UK.

The new works were commissioned last year in the 250th anniversary of Wordsworth’s birth, supported by the Arts Council England. Hideyuki has produced a series of small nature-themed works linking to the project, using the line-hatching method.

It’s a welcome return to Rydal Mount, near Ambleside, for the artist whose epic new portrait of Wordsworth was unveiled there six years ago. That portrait was one of a series of works on the theme of I wandered, to mark the 200th anniversary of William Wordsworth’s Daffodils, said to be the world’s most famous poem.

Wordsworth had a great impact on Hideyuki. “Since moving to this beautiful corner of England, I’ve learned how this natural environment, preserved as it is, was not because it has been kept itself but because of great human endeavour to conserve this natural beauty since the beginning of industrial revolution. Wordsworth was the first and foremost campaigner to raise the voice. Without his passion for the beauty of the Lake District, I believe The Prelude and many other precious poems might not exist; without his endeavour the Lake District might not exist as it is. That’s why I attempted to deliver my art projects more focused on this side of the great poet, increasingly relevant to the contemporary world facing a global ecological crisis.”

Hideyuki told guests at the exhibition opening that the project had developed during the “challenging times” of the pandemic, and perhaps because of them. His work, he says, asks the question, what does it mean to be human in the age of artificial intelligence?

“I portray Hardwicke Rawnsley when he first met the young Beatrix Potter at Wray in 1882 while he was working as a vicar of the St Margaret of Antioch parish church in Wray Castle (near Ambleside), passionately talking to her about the importance of conservation. And I portray William Wordsworth in his late 20s when he and his sister Dorothy settled at Dove Cottage, when he started to write his autobiographical poem The Prelude,” Hideyuki says. 

Hardwicke Rawnsley: spiritual guardian of Lakeland

 “By carefully determining the distance between the two images, I promote a visual illusion so that each portrait can be seen as a single image in another dimension, emerging from the surface of the supports. It is a paradoxical approach, achieved by stimulating a visual illusion.

“I aimed to portray them as the spiritual guardians of Lakeland and beyond in a period of ecological and existential crisis. I have produced two portraits and two drawings, depicting them with contrary lighting conditions, so as to create the installation to look as if the light projects and radiates out from the centre above the artworks. “

Hideyuki completed the works (apart from the drawings) with his unique brush hatching technique using Japanese sumi ink and acrylic, which he created and has developed over the past 15 years. “This method is inspired by the concept of designo, which was established in the Florentine School during the Renaissance, combined with neurological studies, one of which revealed that the human visual brain perceives objects predominantly by oriented lines.

“I completed all works with the gold background using acrylic gold paint inspired by the Japanese traditional painting style, such as Fusuma-e (sliding door painting) and Byōbu-e (folding screen painting) for exploring my cultural roots. In this way, I made my utmost effort to pay homage to these important historical figures of the Lake District, in a way that is appropriate to their memory, despite, or even because of these challenging times.”

Hideyuki created another new portrait of William Wordsworth which was unveiled for just one night in the Lake District at Rydal Mount before heading for a major exhibition in Japan four years ago. The painting of Wordsworth with the Japanese poet Basho was commissioned by the Kakimori Bunko Museum in Japan.

Christopher Wordsworth Andrew, the great great great great grandson of the poet, whose family own Rydal Mount, said that Hideyuki’s exhibition was one of the art highlights of the year in Cumbria. “We are very proud to have this strong connection with one of our leading painters who has such a talented devotion to Wordsworth, and whose work always excites and challenges.”

The exhibition will run until the end of September.

Clara paints in the spirit of Wordsworth

New work by the artist in residence at Rydal Mount will be going on display soon.

Clara Li-Dunne is aiming to capture the romantic atmosphere at Rydal Mount’s house and garden where Wordsworth nurtured his poetic works and published a great many masterpieces. 

Now her first series of work at the house describes how nature changes in four seasons, “and to find romance, the audience will find a heart shape within the painting, for which I used a heart shape stone that I found outside the tearoom of Rydal Mount.”

Clara is more familiar than most with Wordsworth, his life and work, and the beautiful house near Ambleside, having worked there as a guide for the past nine years. Originally from Hong Kong, she has a degree in fine art and is a qualified teacher.

Clara became interested in ‘camera-less photography’ while studying for her BA (Hons) and MA in Fine Art in the 1990s, and was inspired to develop her current practice in painting.

‘I was always fascinated by how nature evolves in its own time; and also the unnoticeable mutation within nature,’ she says. ‘The creations of the images of abstract landscape were from my memories of colours and shapes while out walking, hiking or cycling.’

She uses pigment powders, graphite and sand to build up layers of the mediums like the formation in nature.  ‘A subtle change of the perspective caused by the refraction of light between the colours symbolises the mutation of nature. I also photograph shapes and forms created by natural light to create a new landscape.’

Clara follows in the footsteps of Helen Johnson, from Alston, who was artist in residence at Rydal last year. A former head teacher who is now a full-time artist, Helen produced pieces of work on five themes which match the writing and ideas of Wordsworth: spirituality, family and relationships, emotions, nature, and excursions.

Curator at Rydal Mount Emily Heath said that Clara’s work as an artist brought a new dimension to the place. “Clara’s art is really beautiful and she has some fascinating ideas. And of course, she is a true expert on Wordsworth and his work.”

Wordsworth’s garden in new nationwide project

The garden at Rydal Mount will represent the Lake District in an exciting new interactive online exhibition.

Rydal Mount near Ambleside, along with another home of William Wordsworth, Dove Cottage at Grasmere, has collaborated with Google Arts and Culture to feature in Gardens United, a new project which has just launched.

The exhibition aims to help visitors be inspired by the breadth and wonder of green spaces around the UK.

It’s an interactive online resource celebrating gardens around the UK, which is the result of a collaboration between Rydal Mount and more than 30 cultural partners around the country.

They include Alexandra Palace Gardens, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, the Alnwick Garden, the University of Oxford Botanic Garden and Harcourt Arboretum, and Blenheim Palace Gardens in Oxfordshire.

“From archives, museums, botanic gardens and heritage bodies, this enables you to learn from leading experts and community gardeners about topics ranging from health and wellbeing, food growing, urban gardening and much more,” said Amit Sood, Director of Google Arts and Culture. “Gardens United gives everyone, everywhere an opportunity to explore, learn and discover gardens through a new lens.” 

In more than 150 curated online exhibitions, Gardens United presents an enormous archive of over 4,000 items including photos, videos, ASMR tours and Google Street View tours. These show how gardens have always held a special place in our lives, how important they are for our health and wellbeing, what gardening can do to help support the planet and look back through botanical history from Darwin’s garden to royal landscapes. 

Christopher Wordsworth Andrew, the great great great great grandson of William Wordsworth, whose family still own Rydal Mount, said that the project was a magnificent opportunity to show the world the wonders of the garden originally planned and designed by the poet.

“We are thrilled to be part of this ground-breaking new exhibition which features the best of everything that’s special about gardens in the UK. The visitors who come here invariably fall in love with the place but we want to be able to tell the story of this wonderful garden to a wider audience.”

Said Amit Sood: “Everyone around the world can find joy in exploring a garden, and through this program we wanted to celebrate this as well as inspire audiences to seek out new gardening experiences. From botanical art to urban gardening, thanks to our incredible partners, Gardens United has something for everyone – even if you are only looking to plan your next staycation itinerary.”

Explore Gardens United on the Google Arts & Culture app on iOS or Android or online viag.co/GardensUnited

Discover the Rydal Mount partner page here:

https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/rydal-mount-gardens

Google Arts and Culture puts the treasures, stories and knowledge of more than 2,000 cultural institutions from 80 countries at your fingertips. It’s your doorway to explore art, history, and wonders of the world. Discover stories about cultural heritage ranging from Museum Island Berlin, Puerto Rico’s heritage, Sports in Australia or the women’s right movement to ancient Maya temples, Japanese Food and Indian Railways

In the footsteps of Wordsworth

The first ever poet-in-residence since the time of Wordsworth himself completed a successful week staying at Rydal Mount.

Kieron Winn spent the time writing, reading, giving a recital of his own poetry, and exploring the Lakes in the footsteps of Wordsworth. That included an ascent of Helvellyn on the summer solstice.

A great admirer of Wordsworth, Kieron has won many poetry awards and accolades and his poetry has been published in many magazines, including The London Magazine, New Statesman, Oxford Magazine, The Spectator and The Times Literary Supplement.

Selections of his poems also appear in anthologies and he has read his poems on BBC TV and radio.

The Mortal Man, Kieron’s first book of poetry was published in 2015 and Melvyn Bragg said of it: “I have had much pleasure reading the poems. There is a real talent for binding centuries together and there are additions to the great Lake District tradition.”

Kieron and his wife Amanda on Helvellyn

Kieron said: “I first visited Rydal Mount in 1987 with my parents, and have made several pilgrimages over the years. I could never have imagined that I’d live there for a week, see the moon from Wordsworth’s attic study, or, most unlikely of all, be allowed to try on his top hat.”

Photo: Amanda Holton

The residency gave him the opportunity to experience life as William Wordsworth had done. “Wordsworth is associated with solitude, but was at the centre of a busy household. I now know what it’s like to live at Rydal Mount when quite a few people are about, including another Mr Wordsworth, the curators and visitors, and that made me feel closer to my favourite poet in his very comfortable house.

“Why is he my favourite? Because he’s so salutary and sensible, with his greatness evident and his human flaws visible. My wife and I had a richly happy week, which we will always remember along with the kindness of the curators Emily and Matt and the Wordsworth family, to whom we express our deep thanks.”

Kieron’s collection of poems, The Mortal Man, is available here: https://www.kieronwinn.com/

Wordsworth, Rawnsley and the Lake District

The leading Japanese artist based in the UK is to have a major new exhibition here at Rydal Mount, the home of William Wordsworth.

The exhibition of paintings by Hideyuki Sobue features two leading figures who championed natural beauty in the Lake District, Wordsworth himself, and Canon Harwicke Rawnsley, one of the founders of the National Trust – who was born a year after the death of Wordsworth.

Hideyuki selfie

It’s a welcome return to Rydal Mount, near Ambleside, for Hideyuki whose epic new portrait of Wordsworth was unveiled there six years ago. That portrait was one of a series of works on the theme of I wandered, to mark the 200th anniversary of William Wordsworth’s Daffodils, said to be the world’s most famous poem.

The new works were commissioned last year in the 250th anniversary of Wordsworth’s birth, supported by the Arts Council England. There are two portraits of each figure in the double-vision style, which proved a success during Hideyuki’s previous art project Conversation with Ruskin.

“I portray Hardwicke Rawnsley when he first met the young Beatrix Potter at Wray in 1882 while he was working as a vicar of the St Margaret of Antioch parish church in Wray Castle (near Ambleside), passionately talking to her about the importance of conservation. And I portray William Wordsworth in his late 20s when he and his sister Dorothy settled at Dove Cottage, when he started to write his autobiographical poem The Prelude,” Hideyuki says. 

 “By carefully determining the distance between the two images, I promote a visual illusion so that each portrait can be seen as a single image in another dimension, emerging from the surface of the supports. It is a paradoxical approach, achieved by stimulating a visual illusion.

“I aimed to portray them as the spiritual guardians of Lakeland and beyond in a period of ecological and existential crisis. I have produced two portraits and two drawings, depicting them with contrary lighting conditions, so as to create the installation to look as if the light projects and radiates out from the centre above the artworks. “

Hideyuki completed the works (apart from the drawings) with his unique brush hatching technique using Japanese sumi ink and acrylic, which he created and has developed over the past 15 years. “This method is inspired by the concept of designo, which was established in the Florentine School during the Renaissance, combined with neurological studies, one of which revealed that the human visual brain perceives objects predominantly by oriented lines.

“I completed all works with the gold background using acrylic gold paint inspired by the Japanese traditional painting style, such as Fusuma-e (sliding door painting) and Byōbu-e (folding screen painting) for exploring my cultural roots. In this way, I made my utmost effort to pay homage to these important historical figures of the Lake District, in a way that is appropriate to their memory, despite, or even because of these challenging times.”

The paintings couldn’t be shown until now because of the pandemic, but the new exhibition will open on August 15, after a private view on August 14, and run until the end of September.

Hideyuki created another new portrait of William Wordsworth which was unveiled for just one night in the Lake District at Rydal Mount before heading for a major exhibition in Japan four years ago. The painting of Wordsworth with the Japanese poet Basho was commissioned by the Kakimori Bunko Museum in Japan.

Christopher Wordsworth Andrew, the great great great great grandson of the poet, whose family own Rydal Mount, said that Hideyuki’s exhibition would be one of the art highlights of the year in Cumbria. “We are very proud to have this strong connection with one of our leading painters who has such a talented devotion to Wordsworth, and whose work always excites and challenges.”

Come and listen to Wordsworth’s poet in residence

Here’s a wonderful opportunity to sit in Wordsworth’s Drawing Room at Rydal Mount and listen to Kieron Winn read a selection of his poetry.

Kieron is Rydal Mount’s first Poet in Residence and a great admirer of Wordsworth. Kieron has won many poetry awards and accolades and his poetry has been published in many magazines, including The London Magazine, New Statesman, Oxford Magazine, The Spectator and The Times Literary Supplement.

Selections of his poems also appear in anthologies and he has read his poems on BBC TV and radio.

The Mortal Man, Kieron’s first book of poetry was published in 2015 and Melvyn Bragg said of it: “I have had much pleasure reading the poems. There is a real talent for binding centuries together and there are additions to the great Lake District tradition.”

Tickets for this event on Sunday June 20 are free of charge but limited. Book here: