Drawing 331: Serpentine Woods, Kendal

Direction of view: NW

Notes: The best light is in late morning, and when the trees are bare.  AW’s view is taken with snow on the ground.  Strong lighting contrasts make it difficult to get all elements of the picture reasonably well exposed.

This sketch appears on page 171 of Westmorland Heritage, and on the last page of Kendal in the Nineteenth Century.  The original drawing from which these prints were all made was drawn by Wainwright in 1944; this original is in the possession of Paul Duff (Percy Duff’s eldest son).  The photograph from which this sketch was drawn is in the County Archives at Kendal, reference WDAW/4/1/1/2/34: an old photograph, small and square, but it corresponds to this sketch even to the precise detail of shadows cast on the building and the ground. 

Comments: This was taken as part of a perambulation around Kendal on 5th March 2012.  I had left my car in Kendal for some work to be done, and had planned that, if the day was fine, I could visit a number of sketches around the town.

After doing some business and enjoying a coffee, I set off through the town to visit Castle Dairy (see Drawing 99), then I passed 205 Castle How, which I had already taken in fair conditions.  It took a little while to locate the “summerhouse” in Serpentine Woods which features in AW’s sketch, but when I did it was in good condition, now minus the porch shown by AW.  It was locked by a metal grille, with an information board inside.  The path in the foreground hasn’t changed, though some of the trees and stones have.

The summerhouse was built in 1833-4, and sixpence was charged for its use for picnics, and for admission to the walks in the woods.  It was restored by Kendal Civic Trust in 1985, and it is maintained by South Lakeland District Council, who manage the woods.