Sykehouse Cottage

A beautiful C17th Holiday Cottage in the Lake District

Picturesque Gilpin

lake district

“Shall we suppose it a greater pleasure to the sportsman to pursue a trivial animal, than it is to the man of taste to pursue the beauties of nature?”

The idea of scenic pleasure touring in this country rather than abroad began in the mid C18th and with it came a new aesthetic approach which disregarded symmetry to focus more on accidental irregularity and the charm of the “rustic”.  A leading thinker of this new approach was Cumbrian born, Gilpin.  His writings were a direct challenge to the ideology of the Grand Tour and he showed how an exploration of rural Britain could compete with the Continent.

Gilpin was born in Scaleby, just north of Carlisle,  on 4 June 1724.  From an early age, he was a sketcher and collector of prints, but while his brother became a painter, William went into the church and subsequently became a headmaster. His interest in prints produced instructional writing and, in his Essay on Prints (1768), Gilpin defined picturesque as “that peculiar kind of beauty, which is agreeable in a picture”.

Picturesque-hunters began visiting the Lakes hunting out suitable scenes to sketch using Claude Glasses – tinted mirrors to frame and darken the view, and named after the 17th century landscape painter Claude Lorrain.  Of course, tlake districthe Picturesque fashion was ripe for mockery and Gilpin was satirised in a comic poem,  The Three Tours of Dr. Syntax, which was illustrated by Rowlandson.  Here he is: “Tumbling in the Water”.

I wonder how many chasers of the Picturesque get into scrapes nowadays from concentrating on capturing that special view rather than where they are putting their feet?



Green Door Art Trail 2015

cumbria artsWhat better way to spend a relaxing and inspiring weekend than wandering around artists’ studios chatting about their work and perhaps even buying something? At Sykehouse Cottage, we support locally made work and believe that knowing the artist creates an extra dimension to appreciation.  The Green Door Art Trail takes place on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 March this year and is spread across the South Lakes.

The collective was formed 20 years ago to provide low-cost studios in the Kendal area. Over the years, this not-for-profit co-operative has been involved in an enormous number of exhibitions and educational and community projects, run both by the organisation as a whole and by individual members.  They are committed to bringing artists together and making contemporary art accessible to local residents and visitors to the area.

More than 50 artists, along with local galleries, will be opening their studios and homes for their 10th Art Trail. Painters, sculptors, printmakers, ceramic artists, textile artists, jewellers and glass-makers will be showing their work and the environment in which they create it.

For further information, click this link to go to their website.

Enchanted Eskdale

We spent a glorious Easter Saturday last year walking around Eskdale, one of the most picturesque valleys in Britain.  eskdaleStarting at the car park by Trough House Bridge, we strolled along the banks of the River Esk then climbed up to the impressive falls of Stanley Ghyll Force.   On the way we popped in to visit the beautiful little church of St Catherine’s.   eskdaleThe building was much restored in c19th but still retains its simple charm.  This beautiful valley is about half an hour’s drive from Sykehouse Cottage and you can find more information from the local website if you click here.