Gallery re-opens with photography exhibition

A new exhibition by a leading photographer will mark the re-opening of our Heaton Cooper Studio archive gallery in Grasmere.

Portrait of Cumbria: Life and Landscape is a collection of photographs by Phil Rigby, the former picture editor at Cumbria Life magazine.

The breathtaking landscapes and fascinating portraits are a selection from Rigby’s book of the same name which was published in 2017 and went on to win the Latitude Press Prize for Illustration and Presentation and the Lakeland Book of the Year award in 2018.

A professional photographer who has worked in newspapers and magazines for 30 years, Rigby has become known for insightful portraits of literary, artistic and sporting personalities. But he has also taken some of the most emblematic landscapes that define the county of Cumbria.

This collection was first brought together for the book by choosing images from more than 10 years of shoots for Cumbria Life, along with landscapes from his personal collection. Rigby is a walker, cyclist and climber whose affinity with the outdoors adds an extra dimension to his photography.

Contemporary dancer Kelly McClelland, of Calthwaite, photographed at Ullswater. May 2015

The show is curated by Julian Cooper whose own exhibition of paintings, Among Mountains, was curtailed by the pandemic and ran for only a couple of weeks at the archive gallery in early spring last year.

He said: “We are delighted to re-open our gallery and we’re very proud to display this fine selection of pictures by one of the north’s leading award-winning photographers. What Phil shows in his work echoes so much of the work of our own family of painters who themselves were inspired by the Lakeland hills and crags.”

Rigby said: “I am thrilled that the Heaton Cooper Studio is hosting this exhibition. Cumbria is full of extraordinary landscapes and people and a special place in which to live and work. I hope visitors enjoy looking at my pictures as much as I have enjoyed taking them.”

** Portrait of Cumbria is at the Archive Gallery, Heaton Cooper Studio, from Thursday, July 29 to Sunday, September 5. Open daily including Sundays. The archive gallery adjoins the studio, selling prints and artists’ materials, and Mathildes café. The Heaton Cooper Studio features the work of several generations of the Lake District family of artists.

David Birkett, rock climber and stonemason: David is in his element when he’s in the fells rebuilding dry stone walls, such as this stretch on High Pike, part of the Fairfield Horseshoe above Ambleside. September 2013