Think of Cumbria and what springs to mind? A rural retreat complete with hearty hikes and snug pubs? If these are the images scudding across your mind’s eye, you’d not be wrong. Yet there are more things to do in Cumbria than its outdoor image might suggest. Tourism actually began here back in the 1700s, when clergyman Thomas West published a Guide to the Lakes. It banished forever the idea that Cumbria was wild and inhospitable. It’s thanks to West that when we think of the Lake District, we think of a chocolate-box landscape. Yet the ideal of the ‘picturesque’ is both a blessing and a curse: good for tourism, yet occasionally overshadowing the contemporary art that is made, performed and shown here year-round.
Cumbria is full of artists, from those taking part in the C-Art fest to those exhibiting at Blackwell and Abbot Hall; for them, the landscape’s ability to turn in a moment from benign beauty to lowering skies continues to inspire. It is this that has piqued our interest – and will, we hope, keep yours.
So good that 2019’s edition sold out before the line-up was announced, snap up your tickets for 2018 fast.
Presented at Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Cumbria, artist Grayson Perry’s ‘The Essex House Tapestries: The Life of Julie Cope’ (2015) illustrate the key events in the life of heroine Julie Cope, from her birth during the Canvey Island floods of 1953 to her untimely death in a tragic accident on a Colchester street.