Here’s another in the series of posts looking at pictures that are round our house – it encourages me to look at them with fresh eyes and to remember the stories behind them.
Until Tuesday this picture hung in a corner of the sitting room, but due to a slight moveround in pictures (to accommodate Mr FD’s Ride London medal and map, that I bought him for Christmas) it has been relocated to next to the door of the sitting room. As I moved it, I smiled to remember the history behind it, and knew that it was going to be next in the series.
Here it is (rather badly photographed, I’m afraid)
Early Morning Grasmere, by W. Heaton Cooper
Here’s a better picture (not by me)
This link is to the Wikipedia page on William Heaton Cooper, who was a renowned Lakeland artist, who painted the scenery of the Lake District in all its changing moods, in its glory and beauty. I grew up with Heaton Cooper prints around the house as both my parents loved the Lakes, and walking in the fells. I even remember that, on the day of Charles and Diana’s wedding, Mum & Dad escaped all the hype, and went climbing in the Lakes – they walked up Cat Bells
Later, Mum bought a souvenir Wedgewood bell of the Wedding – to remind her of Cat Bells!.
When they were courting, the Lakes would be the place that they went to with their friends. I imagine that – as long as someone had a car – they were reasonably easily accessed from Liverpool, which is where Ron was a trainee doctor, and Mavis was teaching, after her training in London.
Here is a photo of my parents, before they were married, on a peak in the Lakes – don’t you love the fact that Ron is dressed in a tie (to go climbing?!) and Mavis is in her skirt!
Another day – another mountain…but still in a tie and jacket! Mavis is wearing her lovely jacket (which I took over and wore for a while when I was 17 or so, and so-called “hacking jackets” were in style. )
Here is a photo of them both on their wedding day
Ron in his Flight-Lieutenant’s uniform – he did his National Service in the RAF – Mavis looking beautiful in white lace. I don’t know, but I would imagine that they spent their honeymoon in the Lake District!
When I was younger we would often be taken walking in the Lakes – although I’m not sure how much I really appreciated it! – and I remember Dad and Mr FD bonding over a love of walking. Because of their love for the Lakes, Mum and Dad bought a TimeShare apartment near Newby Bridge, and the bottom end of Windermere
This was to be a base for them both to go walking in their retirement years, but sadly Dad died just a year into his semi-retirement, and before Mum reached retirement age, so they never really got to use it fully. Mum still retains a week there, and goes up at the end of April, with her friends. Often my brother, who shares Dad’s passion for the Lakes and for walking, will go over too.
It was while we were staying there after Dad’s death that I bought the print, as a memorial to him. There is the Heaton Cooper gallery in Windermere and it seemed like a fitting way to remember my dear father.
Here he is in later years (still wearing a tie!!) : Ronald Alan Hardman, well loved GP, from Aintree, Liverpool. At his funeral, in a large church hall, seating, I estimate, about 200 people, there was standing room only. I recall arriving in the car behind the hearse, and being met by the Minister, who whispered to us “Don’t be surprised by the number of people…” He was so well-respected and loved by his patients, by the local community that people had turned out in crowds to pay their respects.
This is a W. Heaton Cooper that Mum has hanging in her home:
This shows Scafell Pike, and I love the moodiness of this painting. I think it is one of my favourites of the paintings that Mum has. Whenever I visit mum and see this painting I smile again, and think of Dad, and his love of the Lakes.
So, there you are. Another of the paintings around our house, and the story behind it.
Early Morning Grasmere
by W. Heaton Cooper