Renowned Lake District Artist Celebrated in New Exhibition

A retrospective exhibition celebrating the life and work of the talented and much-loved Lake District artist Libby Edmondson opened on Wednesday 13 September, in the Gallery at Rheged near Penrith. For the next 10 weeks, visitors will discover a Gallery saturated in colour with vibrant Lake District landscapes, Gardens and Seascapes in the most extensive exhibition of Libby’s work. Co-curated by Rheged, Libby’s husband Nigel from Levens, near Kendal and youngest son Rick, the exhibition encompasses the full breadth of Libby’s work, from sculpture to textiles to paintings and provides a unique insight into Libby as a person.

Libby is renowned for her unique interpretation of Lake District landscapes. She painted with precise accuracy to ensure they were instantly recognisable but gave them a contemporary feel through a very powerful use of vivid colour. Libby produced some 270 paintings during her life, over 50 of which are displayed together in this exhibition due to generous loans and recently discovered work.

Nigel Edmondson commented “ I am absolutely delighted with this exhibition. It’s a fitting tribute and celebration of a creative, talented and beautiful artist who was producing her best work in the last few years of her life. She excelled in every discipline she explored, never ran out of ideas and still had so much to give. Libby loved the landscape, enjoyed walking in it and got inspiration on almost every occasion. She would come home with an irresistible urge to paint.”

The exhibition reveals the story of Libby’s life and her inspiration. It provides an insight into how Libby created her artwork through films of her painting, quotes, photography and original artwork. It includes a re-creation of Libby’s studio, which was in the garden of her home in Levens, plus a rare opportunity to see “The final piece” Libby was working on before her passing in December 2022.

Libby’s paintings have been showcased in prestigious exhibitions, including the Mall Galleries in London. Libby was also chosen as the artist to feature in the BBC TV programme “Glorious Gardens from Above,” in which she created a pastel artwork of the famous Levens Hall Gardens live on camera – the film footage from this is included in the exhibition as well as the pastel she created. Libby strongly supported the Calvert Trust and was delighted to accept the invitation to paint a life-size ceramic Herdwick Ewe and Lamb in 2016. The sale of the Sheep and Lamb raised £4800 for the Calvert Trust when they were sold at the charity auction. The H and H Group, who ran the auction, helped track down the buyers in Ulverston, so both the Ewe and Lamb are now part of this exhibition.

Claire Harrison, Gallery Manager and Co-Curator said “this has been one of the most enjoyable exhibitions I have worked on because of the scope of Libby’s work as well as the fascinating stories behind each one. We are very grateful to both Nigel and Rick who have provided extensive materials which really help illuminate both how Libby produced her artwork and a personal insight into Libby the person – “a lady who was always doing”.

The exhibition provides an opportunity to buy Libby’s work, as 19 original artworks recently discovered, hidden away in Libby’s home, are for sale. There are also a wide selection of mounted limited edition prints available on paper and canvases, a 2024 calendar, cards and candles.

Libby Edmondson: A life full of colour exhibition will be in the Gallery at Rheged, near Penrith CA11 0DQ until Sunday 26 November. Parking and entry is free. It will be open daily from 10am-5pm.