Final chance to see the art of the crags

fell and rock guidebooks


Easter will provide a final chance for visitors to see an acclaimed exhibition of mountaineering art in Grasmere.

The show, at the Heaton Cooper studio, is based around William Heaton Cooper’s exquisite drawings of Lakeland crags used in the definitive climbing guides to the area.

Lines of Ascent, hailed by visiting climbers and art lovers since it opened, features the work William produced for the Fell and Rock Climbing Club guides for 50 years from 1930s onwards. The books were bibles for the climbing community, showing new routes as they developed, drawn on site and working closely with the climbers at the crag face.

Alongside these drawings, guides and journals are climbing photographs from the 1930s and 1940s from Heaton Cooper’s private album, as well as some of his paintings that reference the mid-twentieth century climbing scene, including some not seen before.

There is also an Alpine sketch-book full of vivid drawings and  sketches of the Grandes Jorasses from above the original Couvercle Hut, and crowded interiors of the old hut in the 1950s.

The Alpine theme at the exhibition is extended with Julian Cooper’s huge oil painting  Eiger Face, shown alongside images of the famous 1938 first ascent and subsequent routes up the North Face of the Eiger.

The exhibition will close at the end of April, to be followed in May by a tribute to one of the most accomplished sculptors of the 20th century.

Ophelia Gordon Bell  (1915 – 1975) is known as the wife of landscape painter William Heaton Cooper. But the new Grasmere show, A Vital Spirit, aims to bring attention to her own life and extraordinary talent. It opens on May 18.


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