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June 07 2012

Wainwright notebook and maps among artwork at Carlisle auction

Meticulous preparation for the famous guidebooks is shown in the Lake District writer's notes and annotations to maps

The Lake District has probably inspired more art per square inch than anywhere else in the UK, even if William Wordsworth rather let the side down with the opening lines of his poem on Westminster bridge.

Some of the most interesting is the work of amateurs or specialists in other fields, among whom the names of Beatrix Potter and Alfred Wainwright are currently the most well-known.

An interesting example of work by the latter is coming up for auction later this month; one of the notebooks used in the preparation of his seven-volume guide to walks on the Lakeland fells, along with a score of Ordnance Survey maps with annotations in his neat, town clerk's hand.

Wainwright could be crusty about the OS when they erred; an almost unavoidable hazard in their vast task, but only because he respected the mapmakers' dedication to accuracy which was matched by his own. Even the notebooks are fine examples of very careful work, although intended only for his use.

The lot also contains a further bundle of maps used by Cyril Moore, one of four people who helped the great navigator with his Pennine Way companion. Maps and blue-bound ledger will be auctioned in the somewhat un-Wainwrightlike surroundings of Carlisle's Rosehill industrial estate on Monday, 25 June, by the local firm of HH auction rooms. One of its auctioneers and valuers, Georgina Nixon, says:

Wainwright's notebook will be of great interest to both enthusiasts and scholars alike. I provides real insight into the process of working and indeed to the unique style of the author.  Although a number of more up-to-date guidebooks are on the market, Wainwright's works remain ever popular for their depth and detail, something still cherished by followers to this day. The unique value of the collection comes in its having been kept together.


The estimated price is £2000-£3000 but it's anyone's guess, with Wainwright having many devotees. Other Lakes-related items in the sale include work by the contemporary artist Marion Bradley, notably a series of pencil sketches, and paintings by the late Victorian and early 20th century painter, Thomas Bushby.

One of these shows a little boy wearing a red beret – a cap much favoured by Bushby who would have enjoyed the arrival of Kangol the beret makers in West Cumbria, had he lived to see it. The child is out with his granny in the Cumbrian rain and the auctioneers are keen to establish where the scene was set. Nixon says:

It has been suggested that the place in this painting is Brisco, near Carlisle, but we would like to hear from anyone who can fully identify the location.


The estimate on that one is £2000-£3000 as well.


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October 12 2010

River of money flows to Thames as it wins global conservation prize

London's mighty river was declared a dead zone 50 years ago – but now it is full of life and has been rewarded for its resurgence

In the 1950s it was declared biologically dead – a heavily polluted river that was a far cry from the days when it was admired by William Wordsworth, Claude Monet and the Three Men in a Boat of Jerome K Jerome's book. Now the Thames and its tributaries teem with 125 fish species including salmon, trout, sole and bass.

The resurgence was rewarded yesterday when the river was given a top global conservation prize for its dramatic recovery.

The International Thiess river prize is awarded annually in Australia and comes with prize money of A$350,000 (£218,000).

That the Thames triumphed over competition from the mighty Amazon and idyllic rural waterways such as the Piddle in Dorset, can be explained by the prize's focus on restored and well-managed rivers. "The Thames has 13 million people living along it and it's still got quite a bit of industry," said a spokesman for the Environment Agency, which manages the river. "The Piddle and the Amazon don't have those environmental pressures – the sewage, the industry."

The agency plans to spend the prize on further restoration work and a project to twin the Thames with a river in the developing world which needs restoration.

Having initially been selected from more than 100 entries, the Thames beat three other finalists including the Yellow river in China, which has huge pollution and overuse problems – so much so it sometimes does not reach the ocean.

The agency pointed out that 80% of the Thames is now judged to have "very good" or "good" water quality.

In the last five years there have been nearly 400 habitat enhancement projects and more than 40 miles of river has been restored or enhanced, often transforming concrete urban channels back into quasi-natural meanders.

"In the last 150 years the Thames has been to hell and back," said Alistair Driver, the EA's national conservation manager.

Even the agency admits, though, that there is much more work to do before everyone agrees with the judges at the International River Foundation, especially on the Thames's many urban and suburban tributaries – some of which still flow spasmodically through concrete pipes or over shopping trolleys and other modern jetsam.

David Suchet, the actor and boater, sent a message of support, saying: "I am fortunate in my life to have travelled extensively and enjoyed many other rivers worldwide. But the river Thames is priceless and one of the most glittering jewels in the crown of our English heritage."

The other two finalists were a scheme to restore the drought-ravaged Hattah lakes in Australia and protection and restoration work by the Smirnykh rivers partnership in Russia. Previous winners include the Danube, currently swamped by a toxic chemical spill, and the Mersey in Liverpool – the prize's first winner in 1999.


guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


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