Photo workshops to be staged at poet’s home

Workshops in using an unusual photographic technique involving tea and red wine are to be held at William Wordsworth’s house at Rydal Mount near Ambleside.

Award-winning photographer Chris Routledge will teach sessions in the process of cyanotype photo printing. And the workshops are open to all, novice and expert camera users.


Cyanotype printing is one of the earliest photographic processes, and one of the most rewarding, says Chris. It was discovered by Sir John Herschel in 1842, and was used by Anna Atkins to produce the first-ever photographic books.

Atkins made “photograms” of algae and seaweed by laying her specimens on sensitised paper and exposing them to daylight.

“The characteristic cyan blue colour is what gives ‘blueprints’ their name,” Chris explains. “We’ll begin the workshop learning a little bit of history, and sensitising some paper, before making some photograms of our own from items found in the garden or brought with you; pressed flowers and feathers work especially well.”


Later, the group will move on to making their own negatives, and printing some “Victorian” portraits of their own in and around Rydal Mount.

The first workshop is on March 28. A second, on May 9, will examine printing and toning. This, says Chris, is for those who want to go beyond blue, and bring other shades to their prints. “We’ll begin by making some test prints before learning how to bleach and tone them using widely available everyday ingredients, including tea and red wine. After some experimenting we shall end the day by producing our own unique finished prints.”

In the event of bad weather, the group will use an artificial light to make the exposures.

Chris, who recently had an exhibition of his work at the Heaton Cooper Studio in Grasmere, is the winner of the 2019 Michael Marks Award for his photographs which illustrated a book of poems by Rebecca Goss, Carousel. He also exhibited at the Liverpool Art Fair.

Rydal Mount curator Emily Heath said: “We love the photos Chris takes, and the way he uses this technique to create wonderful images. It will be an ideal short course for us to host here.”

Bookings can be made here:


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