Spotlight is on Cumbria's finest artists

Cumbria’s dream team artist couple, Julian and Linda Cooper, are in the spotlight as their work continues to be admired.

Julian, described as Britain’s greatest living mountain painter and the son of landscape artist William Heaton Cooper, is hailed in a magazine feature by his friend and admirer Lord Bragg.

Melvyn Bragg has been writing about Cumbria in the magazine The Oldie (below, right) and describes how, as a boy, he biked up and down the fells, bought a cottage there at the age of 30 and is still bewitched by the Lake District.

Julian Cooper

But recently he went on a pilgrimage to mark 250 years since the birth of William Wordsworth, and it was thanks to a suggestion from Julian Cooper that he went up Greenhead Ghyll (featured in several of Julian’s works).

Julian had told him about the remains of an old sheepfold mentioned in Wordsworth’s narrative poem, Michael – and Melvyn Bragg thinks he found it. He writes of Julian: “His paintings for me define the modern Lake District.”

Greenhead Ghyll by Julian Cooper

Meanwhile, Julian’s wife Linda Ryle is to be featured in a new exhibition in London as galleries re-open after lockdown. Her work was chosen by art critic Andrew Lambirth to be included in the show called Six Painters, at the esteemed Mayfair gallery of Browse and Darby in Cork St. The exhibitions runs from Sept 10 to Oct 8.

Lambirth says: “There is no argument behind this selection of mature painters at the height of their powers. There is no theme or message except excellence. Each does what he or she does to the very best of their abilities, trying to grasp the unattainable vision, striving after impossible goals and continually seeking to surprise themselves with a different approach to a lasting preoccupation.

“Chosen for their integrity as much as their skill, for their unceasing enquiry into the world of appearances and the deeper meanings behind the surfaces, these artists are six of my favourite painters whose work I admire enormously and would, quite simply, like to share with you.”

Linda studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths College in London and has won a reputation for her highly individual style of painting. She concentrates on the unregarded: beams, worn steps, an end of rope, the window of a garden shed, and she brings to her subjects a poetical interpretation of space and form. She paints the fall and play of light and turns her innate gentleness of approach to the exploration of the mystery at the heart of things.

As dealers and agents in British and French paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture for over forty years, Browse and Darby have recently reopened the gallery. Special measures are in place to protect visitors and staff and in accordance with government guidelines only a limited number will be allowed in the gallery at any one time. If you would like to book a specific time to visit the gallery contact at

Julian Cooper’s latest exhibition was curtailed by the lockdown forced by the global pandemic. His show Among Mountains was to have run at the Grasmere Heaton Cooper Studio archive gallery throughout the spring. It was a selection of work never before seen in the Lake District, featuring paintings of some of the world’s greatest mountain ranges.

The Heaton Cooper Studio is now open daily. Mathildes café is closed on Tuesdays.