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.
How to cite
James Ward, Gordale Scar (A View of Gordale, in the Manor of East Malham in Craven, Yorkshire, the Property of Lord Ribblesdale) ?1812-14, exhibited 1815, in Nigel Llewellyn and Christine Riding (eds.), The Art of the Sublime, Tate Research Publication, January 2013, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/the-sublime/james-ward-gordale-scar-a-view-of-gordale-in-the-manor-of-east-malham-in-craven-yorkshire-r1105589, accessed 02 August 2021.