Drawing 202: Penrith Castle

Direction of view: E

Notes: The viewpoint is opposite Penrith railway station, and very convenient from the M6. The picture should be taken in the afternoon to get sun on both walls of the castle. This view does not appear in any of Wainwright’s other published works.

Comments: Surprisingly, I had never visited Penrith Castle before I went to get this sketch on 30th October 2012.  Sheelagh Hughes Hallett and I were in Penrith, returning from a weekend away in the Eden Valley to celebrate my 55th birthday.  The scene is still as drawn by AW.  A gap in the clouds promised a brief sunny interval, but it passed us by, and my picture looked a bit dull.

I visited Penrith again on 19th July 2018 to give a talk to their “Probus” group on the subject of Alfred Wainwright.  After the talk I went straight to the castle, arriving about 4pm.  The light was good, except for the foreground shadow, which is caused by an enormous lime tree.  Some tree branches impinged on the shot, so I put the camera on a tripod and used the self timer, using the time allowed by this to pull the screen of branches to one side.

Penrith Castle was built at the end of the 14th century by Ralph Neville.  It was later transformed into a luxurious residence by Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who became Richard III. It was dismantled in 1648. It was eventually sold to the Lancaster & Carlisle Railway Company who built Penrith railway station; the castle remains are opposite the railway station.  The castle walls survive to their full height, and stand in a public park created by Penrith Urban District Council after they inherited ownership in the 1920s.