Stunning landscapes, inspired by an epic poem, form the basis of a major exhibition opening at The Bowes Museum
in Barnard Castle this Saturday (26th January).
Rokeby: (Poetry & Landscape) Walter Scott & Turner in Teesdale marks the bicentenary of the publication of Scotts epic poem, Rokeby, a thrilling tale of star crossed lovers, ghosts and treasure, set against the backdrop of the English Civil War.
Exploring the relationship between literature and art, the exhibition - curated by the Museums Keeper of Fine Art, Emma House - examines the poems role in attracting artists such as Turner, Atkinson Grimshaw, and the Pre-Raphaelite Alfred William Hunt to the region, highlighting the importance of Teesdale in the development of landscape painting in Britain. It will include loans from the British Museum, Tate, and regional galleries as well as paintings from the Museums own collection.
Scott penned Rokeby following several visits to John Morritts country estate, Rokeby Park, having taken inspiration from the surrounding scenery. The Bowes Museum is situated a mile or so from the estate, at the centre of the landscape brought to life in the poem. Originally published in 1813, it placed Teesdale firmly on the tourist map as well as drawing a succession of artists to the region, including Turner, who later produced 20 views for Whitakers An History of Richmondshire, four of which relate to locations in the poem.
Scotts publisher was later to commission Turner to illustrate newer editions of the poets work, stating that he could sell 8,000 copies with Turners illustrations as opposed to 3,000 without.
The exhibition, which runs until Sunday 28th April, will be supported by a full programme of events. Walking tours and newly published leaflets will encourage visitors to explore the regions attractions and viewpoints in relation to the paintings and literature they inspired.
A further programme of painting, photography, textile and writing workshops will encourage participants to get their creative juices flowing and respond to the poem by producing their own works of art inspired by the landscape.
The Museum will also be working with Dora Frankel Dance, who will perform a newly choreographed piece The Unfolding Sky: Turner in the North - exploring Turners landscape paintings. There will also be an opportunity to take part in a dance workshop.