Drawing 107: Wythburn Church

Direction of view: SE

Notes: At the time of my visit in 2013 (see below), it was impossible to replicate Wainwright’s sketch, as a tree had grown up where he must have stood.  The trees behind the church in the drawing have been felled (between 1977 and 1979?), and the fellside is visible – a nicer backdrop.  It will be very difficult to get sunlight on the side of the church facing the camera – only early on a midsummer evening (see image 2). This sketch also appears on page 165 of Wainwright in Lakeland

Comments: I first took this picture on slide film on 6th April 1977, during the Easter holidays of my first year at University (image 1).  It was a day out with Andrew Amos and Peter Messenger, and we snapped a clutch of sketches around Wythburn (107 and 158) and Rydal (234), before heading to Grasmere (350) and up Easedale (65) for a walk on the fells (209, 354 and 366).  It was an odd day, with a good deal of sun, and some heavy snow showers.

I visited the church again in 1979; this was probably a day with Peter Messenger in late summer, spent visiting sketch locations around Coniston and Windermere, reaching Wythburn around sunset.

Having passed Wythburn church countless times in the meanwhile, I stopped to look at it again and get a photograph on 29th December 2013 (image 3).  Sheelagh Hughes Hallett and I were having a day out in the Lake District, and I was trying out a new gadget – a spirit level which fits into the camera hot shoe.  I also used a tripod for the shot, which came out nicely.

Inside the church, postcards are sold, also of a pen and ink drawing of the church – a similar view to Wainwright’s, but not identical, with trees similar to the 1979 photo.