Sykehouse Cottage

A beautiful C17th Holiday Cottage in the Lake District


Go Herdwick

A lovely new arts trail raising money for a local charity will go on display from 25 March this year.  60 models of Herdwick ewes, each decorated by a local artist and sponsored by a local ewefirm will be displayed around Keswick, Grasmere, Rydal, Ambleside and Windermere.  The animals will be placed in public places and follow the route of the 555 bus service.

In September the flock will be rounded up for a gala auction in October.

We are particularly pleased to see that a favourite local artist of ours, Jo McGrath, has one to paint.  She plans “… to use the sheep raddle powder we use on our Herdwicks at Yew Tree farm, to mix up an acrylic paint to use to sheep-hatdraw /paint designs of herdwicks onto the main herdwick model. The designs will be applied in such a way that they will look like the sheep model is marked with traditional ‘smit’!”  To have a look at more of Jo’s work, click on this link for her website. I posted another blog about her here.

Money raised will help fund redevelopment of Old Windebrowe, the Calvert Trust’s grade 2 listed farmhouse and tithe barn, which is thought to date back to the 1550s and was once used as a home by William Wordsworth.  The Trust provides adventure holidays for people with disabilities and plans to use the centre to provide specialist accommodation.  If you would like to know more about the Trust and its campaign, click here.

 

 

 


Arts Round Up for the New Year 2016

2015-AH-Canaletto-HAbbot Hall, Blackwell House and the Wordsworth Museum in Grasmere are all favourite trips out for us when we are staying at Sykehouse Cottage.  I sometimes think people forget about these fine museums in their haste to get up a mountain …

Abbott Hall Art Gallery in Kendal have the fabulous “Canaletto: Celebrating Britain” running until 14 February 2016.  “Canaletto makes you feel as if you’re wandering around with your eyeballs cleaned.” Robert Clark, Guardian Guide Oct 2015

Abbot Hall Art Gallery: until 14 February 2016

2016-Laura-Ford-HThen from 11 March, both Abbott Hall and Blackwell will be showing “Laura Ford: Sculpture and Drawings”.   Located at Blackwell on the lawns, with select pieces in the main house and at Abbot Hall, this exhibition will comprise Ford’s earlier work together with new sculptures.  Laura Ford describes her work as sculptures dressed as people who are dressed as animals, as they meld together ideas of childhood memory with a disturbing edge.

Abbot Hall Art Gallery: 11 March – 25 June 2016
Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House: 11 March – 4 September 2016

fillThe Wordsworth Museum in Grasmere has  its “Shepherds to Charabancs” exhibition running until 28 February.   Subtitled “Changing Life in Grasmere 1800 to 1900” the show has been inspired by a recent addition to the museum an 1859 survey map of Grasmere.  Curated by The Grasmere History Society the exhibition explains the transformation of Grasmere through local stories and brought alive with objects belonging to local residents as well as maps, artefacts and images from the Wordsworth Trust’s collection.

The Wordsworth Museum : until 28 February.

Abbot Hall, Blackwell House and the Wordsworth Museum in Grasmere are all favourite trips out for us when we are staying at Sykehouse Cottage.


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.


5 Half Term Favourites

When we come up for a holiday at Sykehouse Cottage, there are certain things we love to do.  Here are five of our favourites.

self catering cottage1)  Walk across the fields for a gorgeous pub lunch at the Blacksmiths Arms, Broughton Mills.  Click here for details of opening hours on their website.

 

self catering lake district2) Ride on the La’al Ratty : the Ravenglass and Eskdale Steam Railway.  Click here for their details.

 

self catering cottage cumbria

3) Run around Muncaster Castle for the “Luck” and a pose in the stocks.  Click here for their website.

cottage rental lakes

4) Imagine, for a moment, living at Blackwell, one of the country’s finest Arts and Crafts houses.  The stained glass!  The views!  Visit the website here.

 

market st ulverston5) Have a mooch around the lovely clothes, craft and book shops in Market Street, Ulverston.

 

 


A little Goldsworthy.

Andy Goldsworthy

Slits Cut into Frozen Snow, Stormy … Blencathra, Cumbria, 12 February.

I notice that Abbot Hall Art Gallery’s talk next Monday 2 February, 2pm,  is on their series of Andy Goldsworthy photographs.  Goldsworthy’s pastoral style of land art has fallen rather out of fashion lately though I still hold his Sheepfolds and Grizedale Forest’s Taking a Wall  for a Walk in great affection: they sit quietly, playfully, in the Cumbrian landscape, making me appreciate the art of stone walling.  On our picnic walks from Sykehouse Cottage, we still enjoy making a little “Goldsworthy” every now and again.  Usually “fallen stars” of sticks, sometimes flags of leaves and twigs, occasionally balanced stones on river beaches.  Little Goldsworthys appeal to the scavenger, the creative and the mark maker in us all.

lake district art

Taking a Wall for a Walk – Grizedale Forest

The Gallery holds talks about works in their collection every Monday exc Bank Holidays which are included in the admission price.  Abbot Hall is well worth a visit if you are in the Kendal area.  For further details of their events and opening times, please click on this link to take you to their website.


Jo McGrath : Tails of Cumbria

jo mcgrath guineapigLocal Broughton artist, McGrath, is having her first solo exhibition at Brantwood starting 11 January and going on until  9 March 2014.  Focusing on farm animals, her lively and affectionate style really brings out the character of her subjects and it is wonderful that she has landed this exhibition which hopefully will bring her wider recognition.

For guests at Sykehouse Cottage, her work can also be seen, and is for sale, at the Broughton Village Bakery.  (Look out for team Riggs’ favourite sketch of a Guinea Pig.)

For further information about Jo’s work. Please click on the link to her website or the Brantwood exhibition go to their website here.