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UCLan artist takes a fresh look at Kirkby Lonsdale’s most famous view

26 June 2014

Lyndsey Boardman

Abi examines Ruskin’s View for final year project

Kirkby Lonsdale’s most famous landscape scene is the inspiration behind a University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) student’s latest project in which she draws people to question what lies within Ruskin’s View and how we look into and at it.

Fine art student Abi Townsend from Bentham has examined the view from the churchyard in Kirkby Lonsdale made famous in the 1800s by JMW Turner’s painting and by art critic John Ruskin who described it as the “one of the loveliest views in England.”

Using film footage and recorded conversations with Professor Stephen Wildman, a Ruskin expert, local art historian Peter Osbourne and the farmer whose land sits at the heart of the view, Abi has considered the notion of Ruskin’s View from three different perspectives.

"“Much of my work focuses on my connection with my cultural and creative landscape and this project has certainly attracted a lot of interest from people in the area. "

The artist has presented her work by asking visitors to sit surrounded by images of the famous landscape whilst the interviews are played back.

The idea behind Abi’s work is to draw out a deeper level of consideration for Kirkby Lonsdale’s main visitor attraction to ask audiences to consider a new version of what they thought they know whilst discovering the reality of how life is for the farmer whose living landscape it is.

Abi, 49, commented: “Much of my work focuses on my connection with my cultural and creative landscape and this project has certainly attracted a lot of interest from people in the area.

“Through this project I wanted to draw a deeper level of understanding of the motivations and devices that artists such as Turner employ as they manipulate the relationship between the painting, the spectator and the landscape itself with the rarely represented perspective of the farmer for whom it is a living and working reality.”

Her work has been on display as part of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) Degree Show. She is planning further showings of the project in the local area.

Abi also works as a support worker for Scope Inclusion and provides support for disabled individuals in the Lancaster and Morecambe area and to some students at Beaumont College in Lancaster.

Abi Townsend