James Ward

Gordale Scar (A View of Gordale, in the Manor of East Malham in Craven, Yorkshire, the Property of Lord Ribblesdale)

?1812–4, exhibited 1815

Not on display

James Ward 1769–1859
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 3327 × 4216 mm
Purchased 1878

Display caption

Gordale Scar is a bank of limestone cliffs near Settle, Yorkshire. Ward painted this picture for Lord Ribblesdale, a local landowner. He emphasised the height and scale of the cliffs by subtly manipulating the perspective. In the foreground he shows deer and cattle, including a white bull from the (originally wild) Chillingham herd, who appears to guard the cleft of Gordale Beck. Working in the last years of the Napoleonic wars, Ward aimed to depict a national landscape, primordial and unchanging, defended by ‘John Bull’ in animal form. His painting also epitomised the awe-inspiring qualities of the fashionable ‘Sublime’ landscape.

Gallery label, March 2010

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