Ruskin’s Reverie by Kate Bentley

25 September – 7 November 2021

Kate’s exhibition is the culmination of a 19 month long residency at Brantwood.
After Kate commenced her residency in Sept 2018 she has focused solely on its influences. Kate’s reasons behind applying for the residency were to enable her to move away from strong landscape influences in her paintings and to experiment with contemporary media, photography, 3D and experimental media.

Initially she was influenced by Ruskin’s connection to the Pre-Raphaelites and his association with Turner, however once Kate was submerged in the residency it was the interior of Brantwood itself that formed the integral part of her work during her time as Artist in Residence.

“On one of the first visits to Brantwood I took numerous photographs of the interior as I began to notice the reflections in the windows and display cases plus the reflections in the glass of the exhibited paintings. I found this fascinating. After a while I realised, I could use the concept of using reflections/ layers to represent the complex layers of Ruskin’s life, his paintings, his literature, his love of nature and architecture, his philanthropic outlook and his relationships. This influence moved me away from painting and pushed me to experiment with reflective media, layers of glass, print and 3D boxes.

I did not give up on painting completely but have used it combined with print, photography and the projection of images to push my practice forwards and away from convention. The second point of inspiration were the interiors of Brantwood. The chairs in particular have subsequently become a common symbol in my work. The chairs represent a poignant reminder of the presence of a person and I have repeated used this symbol to signify Ruskin’s presence. I also became interested in Turner’s influence on Ruskin’s work. I was thrilled by Brantwood’s loan of a collection of Turner originals from The Tate, which coincided with my residency at Brantwood. The work I have produced, and am still producing, for this residency has become hugely important to me.

I took on this residency wanting to experiment more, to take risks, to immerse myself in a new area and ultimately to take time out from my normal painting routine. Having time to develop new ideas and working methods I have had time to explore new areas of the visual arts including printmaking, photography, digital projection. This new approach will definitely influence my future work and I am immensely grateful to the directors /staff of Brantwood to enable me to fulfil this ambition … watch out for a few surprises!”

Kate is a full-time painter working from her studio in South West Scotland.
As well as exhibiting her work in a number of smaller galleries throughout the country Kate’s regularly shows work in a number of larger respected venues including:
The Royal Institute of Watercolour Artists,
The Royal Watercolour Society,
The Mall Galleries
The Society of Women Artists
Royal Scottish Academy
Edinburgh and Manchester Art Fairs

Kate is an elected member of the Society of Women Artists and retired member of the Lake Artists Society.


Caption: Happiness and Hope (oil on panel), by Kate Bentley


Further information:
  • Brantwood is open every day during summer and Wednesday to Sunday during winter, also closing on Christmas & Boxing Day.
  • Costs: Admission to the house and gardens is £8.70 for adults, £7.00 for students and free for children (16 and under). Admission to the gardens is £6.20 for adults, £5.00 for students and free for children (16 and under).  Admission to The Treasury and Studio exhibition is also included in the garden ticket
  • Location Brantwood, Coniston,  Cumbria  LA21 8AD
  • For more information please call  015394 41396; email: