Natural High

19 June 2021  –  26 March 2022

Reconnect with nature in this contemplative exhibition of British landscape scenery from The Atkinson’s fine art collection. Take a meditative and relaxing journey through mountains, lakes and seashore as we follow in the footsteps of artists from the early 19th century to the present day.

Perhaps one of the few silver linings of lockdown and the restrictions on foreign travel has been a renewal of interest in our own natural heritage. In the early 1800s there was a similar sense of looking inwards to discover domestic landscapes that had been overlooked. Artists and travellers kept at home by the Napoleonic Wars turned instead to the wild places of Britain for inspiration: the mountains of Wales, the beauty of the Lake District and the lochs and hills of Scotland.

The exhibition opens with an extensive view across the Lake District. In Thomas Sidney Cooper’s A Halt on the Fells, Cumberland(1838), a family of resting Scottish drovers and their cattle are framed against a vast expanse of sky and mountain stretching off into the distance.

Mountain scenery offers us the opportunity to make a complete break with our everyday lives, whether we are looking for an invigorating hike or a more contemplative experience of nature at its most sublime. It’s interesting to compare two very different responses of artists to upland scenery. Alfred de Breanski, in ‘Morning Mist, Kilchurn’ is a typical Victorian Romantic who softens the edges of the rugged Scottish landscape and uses subtle tonality to convey its beauty.  In contrast, a late 20th century realist like Kyffin Williams recreates the harsh angularity of ‘Tryfan, 2’ in all its stark beauty to give us a much more tactile sense of being in the landscape.

In these paintings we see the landscape through the artists’ eyes. Throughout the exhibition we explore different ways of seeing and suggest a range of simple meditative exercises that take images of mountains, lakes, countryside and shore as a starting point to reimagine our relationship with both art and nature.


Further information:
  • Opening times: Monday-Saturday. 10.00 am-4.00 pm; closed on Sundays and Bank Holidays
  • Free admission
  • Location:  The Atkinson, Lord Street, Southport PR8 1DB
  • Getting there: By Road: from the South take the M6 to exit 26; the M58 will take you to Ormskirk and then take the A570 to Southport; from the North follow the A59 from Preston (exit 31 from the M6) and then follow the signs to Southport. By Train: Southport station is just three minutes walk from the venue. Northern Rail operates regular services to Southport from Manchester Airport, Manchester (Piccadilly, Oxford Road and Victoria stations), Bolton and Wigan; By Bus: Merseytravel operate a number of bus services to and from Southport
  • Contact 01704 533333