The Wainwrights in Colour Review

Eleven years ago, artist Andy Beck when traversing the ridge to Pillar considered the view to be very familiar, not that he had been there before but he had seen it in detail in Wainwright’s drawings in Book 7 – The Western Fells. Sure enough, on consulting the Red Pike chapter in Book 7 of the Pictorial Guides he realised that he was standing in almost the exact location where AW had obtained his view to include in the guidebook.

This sowed a seed in Andy’s mind which developed into the project that Andy has worked on over the intervening period entitled “The Wainwrights in Colour”. In the seven pictorial guides, Wainwright produced in excess of 1500 drawings; either of the particular fells themselves, boulders, bridges, cairns, caves, streams, summits etc. Andy decided that he would photograph and then draw every single one of these.

Inspired by the work of AW, Andy has undertaken this major project of producing a watercolour sketch of every illustration drawn by A.W. in his seven Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells. Every single location of the illustrations has being meticulously researched so that Andy's references are taken from the exact location where A.W. stood to take his own black and white photographs.

A number of years ago Andy showed me his Ordnance Survey maps on which he had marked where he thought each of the drawings was seen by AW, and a photograph taken, to be later changed into a pen and ink drawing back at Kendal. Some of the drawings are of features down in the valleys and Andy believes AW may well have taken photographs of these when it was perhaps a wet day on the hills and where he would have possibly pottered about in places such as Grasmere, Patterdale, Seathwaite, Seatoller etc. and looked at caves, steams and bridges. As each location was visited by Andy, these were marked off on the map with a yellow highlighter and the drawing was then completed back at his home near to Bowes.

As the sketches were completed over the last decade, these were sold at various events, exhibitions and on-line to buyers and there are only a handful of these still remaining. However, what Andy has also done is to produce a book containing copies of all these 1500 drawings which was launched in Kendal last month. This is a superb production and is something, similar to Wainwright’s original Pictorial Guides, that is never likely to be repeated. In completing the groundwork for the original paintings and the book, Andy covered a total of 1,747 miles, climbed 508,000 feet of ascent and wore out two pairs of walking boots in the process. Accompanying each of the drawings are details of when the pictures were drawn and also interesting facts about either the mountain, rock, stream, summit cairn, tree etc. depicted in each drawing itself.

The hardback book contains 360 full colour pages, is in landscape format, and is published by Double Z publishers, a company Andy has formed named after his two faithful hounds Zoe and Zeta. It can be ordered on line at and is priced at £39.00 plus £7.50 postage and packing. For lovers of the Lake District it is, however, worth every penny. This is a limited edition of 5,000 copies and will never be repeated. I would therefore recommend you purchase this whilst copies are still available. I know it is midsummer at the moment, but this would make a superb Christmas present for anyone who loves the Lake District and walking.