Drawing 72: Hill Top, Sawrey
Direction of view: W
Notes: Hill Top is owned by the National Trust (it was, of course, the home of Beatrix Potter), and entry is charged for – and indeed a timed slot has to be booked to tour the house. However, entry to the garden alone is free. The light will be best late morning.
This scene also forms sketch 9 in A Second Furness Sketchbook. It is interesting how some incidental details are the same in each drawing, and some are different. Both have four birds on the lawn; but the Furness sketch has a woman and child entering the property, whilst the Lakeland sketch has a woman on her own.
Comments: I first visited this sketch on 14 April 2012, walking down to it from Latterbarrow past Wise Een and Moss Eccles Tarns. Although I took a compass bearing of the direction of view, I forgot to write it down! The weather was overcast. Not much had changed, though the grass shown in the bottom left corner of the sketch is now planted as a flower bed, making access to AW’s precise viewpoint impractical: image 1
I visited the property again on 29th October 2015 – my birthday – on an afternoon trip with Sheelagh Hughes Hallett to see the autumn colours (which were magnificent as we drove up through the Rusland Valley). Image 2 provides a contrast of autumn with the spring scene in image 1. And I deployed my compass to confirm that Wainwright’s view is looking west.
Hill Top was built in the 17th century, and bought by Beatrix Potter in 1905. When she died in 1943, she left Hill Top to the National Trust with the proviso that it be kept exactly as she left it, complete with her furniture and china.