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Thursday, 25 August 2016

The Heaton Cooper Studio, Grasmere

What with Grasmere’s association with William Wordsworth and the Lake Poets, you might think that this famous Lakeland village is defined solely by its literary luminaries. Not so. Every year the Lake Artists Society holds its annual exhibition in the village hall here - ending this year on September 7 - while several generations of a renowned family of artists are represented at the Heaton Cooper Studio, opposite the village green.

The first of this creative dynasty was Bolton-born Alfred Heaton Cooper who after being trained in London in the 1880s travelled to Norway with the intention of selling landscape paintings to European tourists. Things didn’t quite work out so he returned to England with his Norwegian wife, shipping back a log cabin to act as a studio in Coniston. He later moved the wooden building to Ambleside where it’s now a restaurant called The Log House. His painting of the Langdale Pikes is pictured.

His son William inherited Alfred's artistic talents - his picture of Derwentwater is left - and their original paintings and prints are sold in the different galleries along with work - sculpture and ceramics included - from other members of the family. It was William who built the Heaton Cooper Studio in 1938.

His marriage to sculptor Ophelia Gordon Bell produced four children, one of whom (John) runs the studio while another (Julian), is an artist in his own right, well known for his mountain paintings.

Julian’s wife Linda Ryle is also an artist - an exhibition of her past and present paintings Time Regained is showing at the studio until the end of October - and so is John’s daughter, Rebecca, working in mixed media and collage.

What also draws people here is the range of artists’ materials for sale: paints, pastels, pens, pencils, brushes, easels, inks, paper, sketchbooks and more. That makes it a perfect destination for all those who want to capture the beauty of the Lake District as artists have been doing for over 300 years.

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