The Old Stones

Nobody knows.

Nobody knows why people erected magnificent stone circles and enormous, solitary standing stones among the hills and plains of prehistoric Britain. We have split the atom, sequenced our DNA and travelled into space but we have yet to unravel the mystery of the stones. It is one of the great, unanswered mysteries of human history and one that we may never learn. It has been speculated that stone circles such as the wondrous 5000 year old structure at Castlerigg, just outside Keswick, was designed as an observatory to track the movements of the sun, mood and stars. Others have linked stones such as the colossal menhir at Mayburgh Henge, near Penrith, to ritualistic ceremonies or burial sites but the truth is - we just don't know.

Either way, these enigmatic monuments still retain the power to attract and mesmerise us. Perhaps we're fascinated by their historical significance or maybe we're drawn to their staggering beauty and grandeur. Others are compelled to visit the stones for mystical reasons we don't fully understand which might just hint at another, subtler reason for their existence.

The North of England is rich in Neolithic sites and two northern artists have attempted to capture both the majesty and mystery of 'The Old Stones'. Gavin Parry has sought out and chronicled these prehistoric sites for many years and has a deep knowledge of Neolithic history. His stunning photographs capture both the grandeur and elemental beauty of the stones. Tony Galuidi is a relative newcomer but an enthusiastic devotee of standing stones. His atmospheric paintings attempt to portray the ethereal qualities of these great monoliths.

The exhibition will be on display at the gallery from March 9th until May 29th. 

We hope to see you there!
The Old Stones



A new exhibition by a prolific artist with strong links to Cumbria will open at Grasmere’s Heaton Cooper studio in June. Chris Rigby is a multi-award-winning painter whose work has been seen at almost 100 solo and mixed exhibitions during his creative career. Born in Lancaster and now living at Burton in Lonsdale, Chris took a foundation course at Storey Institute, Lancaster and Morecambe College of Art, and then went on to study Illustration at Falmouth school of Art, Cornwall. While there he developed an interest in the Old Masters which he later pursued under the mentoring of Chris Robinson, a graduate of the Royal Academy and practising artist. Since 1999 his many exhibitions have been staged in Dublin, Cornwall, Cumbria, Yorkshire, Lancashire and Shetland, as well as at many London galleries. Since 2011, when he rented a studio in Scalloway for a month, he has been a regular visitor to Shetland.
In 2012 he had a major solo exhibition, 30 Days of Light, at the Lerwick Museum and Archives. Two years later in 2015 the Bonhoga Gallery hosted a second Shetland exhibition, Between Rocks and Hard Places. Each year sees a growing body of Shetland based work, but Chris has worked on many Cumbrian subjects, including various music festivals, including Solfest, and he did a series of paintings of performers on stage at the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal. Chris says: “I draw upon a diversity of subject matter from wilderness landscape to the urban landscape to dancers, poets, musicians and the odd comedian as featured in my 2015 exhibition, Performance. Each offers something different to the conversation. Each informs the others. It feels like playing in different pools, taking a little water from each to mix in with the next.” He says that getting “out there” in the elements, painting direct is integral to his working practice. "The information available via the senses is unparalleled by any other means. Simply put, it is the single best way of exploring your subject and your relationship to it.
These experiences feed into the studio based work. I'm a figurative painter that believes everything is in essence abstract. To paint figuratively with any success is to paint abstract.” Julian Cooper, who will curate the exhibition, said: “The range and breadth of Chris Rigby’s work is tremendous, and we are really excited to be staging a show of his work here.”