A book created by two Lake District artists in tribute to William Wordsworth will be launched at Rydal Mount next week (August 18).
I Wandered is a celebration of the 200th anniversary of the poem “I wandered lonely as a cloud”, known the world over as Daffodils, and is a permanent record of a remarkable exhibition at Rydal Mount which closes at the end of the month.
Both the book and exhibition feature the work of the Japanese artist Hideyuki Sobue and the award-winning poet Gary Boswell who were introduced to one another – and to the intricacies of Wordsworth’s poetry – ten years ago by Peter Elkington, the curator at Rydal Mount, near Ambleside, where Wordsworth lived for the greater part of his life.
The book cover features the completely new portrait of William Wordsworth which has been the highlight of the exhibition Rydal Mount since it opened this spring.
Sobue based the new portrait on the life mask of Wordsworth, created coincidentally in 1815, the year that Daffodils in its final version was published. It forms a diptych – two separate paintings – with a stark picture of a sea of daffodils stretching back to infinity.
Sobue used the mask in the archives of the National Portrait Gallery in London as the basis for the new painting, which shows the poet as he would have looked 200 years ago, at the age of 45.
Based in the Lake District, after graduating from Osaka University of Arts in Japan, Sobue was elected as a member of the Lake Artists Society in 2008. His work has been shown at a number of major exhibitions in London and throughout the UK.
He is a great admirer of Wordsworth and developed his distinctive style in completing what is believed to be the first new portrait of the poet for 150 years.
At the opening of the exhibition, Gary Boswell read some of his own work in tribute to Wordsworth, and now the poems and paintings are captured together in a publication which looks set to become a collectors’ item.
“Expect the unexpected when you join and artist and a poet together for a special event,” says Peter Elkington. “I wanted to create an event which would live in people’s memories for a long time to come. And I wanted to bring a more modern approach through art and poetry, to meet the request of Wordsworth’s descendants that we try and revive interest in the Daffodil poem.”
I Wandered is on sale at Rydal Mount (£10). The exhibition continues until the end of August.