Date Posted: 10th January 2020

Harmony in Red

The programme’s out! This is something I and many others look forward to each year. This year’s line-up of speakers is great – from famous names to people I’ve never heard of with interesting stories to tell. I’m looking forward to hearing Tim Waterstone of bookshop fame, John Crace the Guardian satirist who makes me laugh out loud some mornings, Ruth Davidson erstwhile Scottish politician and novelists Deboragh Moggach and Sally Vickers. I will be chairing art critic Martin Gayford again (Freud’s Man in the Blue Shirt and Hockney’s Bigger Picture in the past). He combines art and travel this time. Nicholas Crane – travel man with umbrella - is also a must. There is so much on offer it’s worth considering a season ticket (no they didn’t pay me for writing this!) You can see details and the full programme on https://www.theatrebythelake.com/words-by-the-water-festival.

I’ve made an appearance at the festival both in Keswick (and at times Dartington) almost every year since 2004, talking about art and artists. This year it’s an intriguing story about a painting, a legacy and two exceptional women. The oil painting, Harmony in Red is by Anne Redpath a leading Scottish artist, the first woman to be admitted to the Royal Scottish Academy in 1955. This painting hung for more than 40 years in a tiny cottage in Borrowdale belonging to Rosalie Charlton a vegetarian, humanist, art teacher followed by 20 years in a museum store. It has survived fire and floods. I will enjoy sharing its adventures with you on 9th March in the main house of Theatre by the Lake in Keswick at 6.00pm. I have put together a 16 page booklet about it but this is just the beginning. I can feel a novel coming on …!

I look forward to seeing you there.