As pretty as a picture …

For those who enjoy modern art, Rudding Park in Harrogate boasts a collection from notable Yorkshire artists. Ed Kluz was commissioned to produce a piece of work for the contemporary new library depicting the front of the stately Grade-1 listed Regency house.
Elsewhere in the hotel are works by Tania Still, who specialises in painting hounds from British Isle packs, and Mark Hearld who studied natural history illustration at the Royal College of Art.
An earlier Yorkshire artist has links with the Castle Hotel at Conwy in Wales. Born in Sedbergh in 1832, John Dawson Watson became an eminent book illustrator and water colourist. Legend has it that he had “a certain affection” for the owner of the Castle, a Mrs Dutton-Foreshaw, and lived there during his last years, paying for his lodgings with his artwork.
As a result, much of his output can be seen at the hotel today, including early pencil and pen and ink drawings, many watercolours, oil paintings and panels. He also designed the Victorian façade of the hotel in 1880.
With its dramatic coastline and scenic countryside, Cornwall has long been a favourite retreat of artists. There are numerous galleries, headed by Tate St Ives, and plenty of opportunities to view and buy artworks – or have a go with a brush yourself.
Rose-in-Vale Country House Hotel, in Mithian, St Agnes, is staging two five-night Land and Seascape Painting breaks (from April 28 and September 29). They will be run by the well-known West Country artist Ray Balkwill, who will be developing his students’ artistic talents through personal tuition in beautiful locations and talks each evening after dinner.
The eminent Georgian portrait painter John Opie was born near Rose-in-Vale and the hotel displays a grand painting of his in the hallway. The subject is Joyce Nankivell, wife of a former owner of the house and regarded as a local beauty possessing “great sweetness and animation.”
Finally, for those who appreciate paintings on a grand scale, The Hoste in Burnham Market, Norfolk, is offering two-night breaks which include a private talk and viewing at one of the year’s most important exhibitions opening nearby.
The art collection of Britain’s first Prime Minister Robert Walpole was sold to Russia’s Empress Catherine the Great in 1779. Now it is being reassembled for the first time in over 200 years in its original setting at Walpole’s magnificent ancestral home – Houghton Hall near King’s Lynn.
The Houghton Revisited exhibition features masterpieces by Van Dyck, Rubens, Rembrandt and Velasquez and runs from May 17 – September 29. The Hoste is offering its breaks on several dates in May and June and more may be added later.
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