Just Visiting Just Left, Sandra Parker

Sandra Parker’s wonderful Just Visiting (above) just left the Old School.

We’re currently showcasing a selection of Sandra’s work at the Old School including three superb originals, one of which is the superb Swaledale study, Yan, below …

Yan | Sandra Parker

… and we plan to get our hands on some more of Sandra’s work very soon. Watch this space!


Yorkshire’s Coast & Sea, John Harrison

Our final (final) post profiling artists in the Yorkshire Coast & Sea exhibition focusses on Drawn in Yorkshire’s John Harrison, whose style will be familiar to all those who visit our small (but perfectly formed) gallery in upper Swaledale and to the tens of thousands of readers of the Dalesman Magazine that John features in each month.

Down the Hill into the Village | John Harrison

John’s line and wash style perfectly complements the houses and cottages that huddle together for protection in the villages dotting our stunning coastline, and a superbly  judged balance of colour and simple line drawing (as exemplified by the featured image, Shadow on Church Street) allows the viewers imagination to fill in the gaps and complete the picture.

The Red Rooftops of Robin Hoods Bay | John Harrison

At the Old School Muker we’re very pleased to showcase John’s paintings in our main gallery and in the Yorkshire’s Coast & Sea exhibition, and extremely proud to be hosting a solo exhibition of John’s work in July 2018.




Yorkshire’s Coast & Sea, Kate Lycett

The Yorkshire’s Coast & Sea exhibition starts on Saturday and today we profile our final two artists beginning with Hebdon Bridge’s Kate Lycett.

image.php-4Kate’s limited edition prints, hand embellished with gold leaf and thread, literately shine out from our walls, sparkling in the changing light, and kate’s passion for textile design is embedded into each scene, bringing warmth,  pattern and colour, to the Yorkshire coasts most iconic towns and villages.  Fabulous!



Yorkshire’s Coast & Sea – John Wood

John Woods oil paintings have been a fixture at the Old School for many years, with another of his original works, Swaledale Valley,  just having found its way across the Atlantic to a home in USA.

Yorkshire’s Coast & Sea has provided a chance to showcase John’s coastal work with Whitby (featured image) and Runswick Bay (below) just two examples of his superbly executed oils, that provide yet another unique take on our wonderful coastline.

JW - Runswick Bay
Runswick Bay | John Wood

The Old School Welcomes Giles Davies

The Old School is delighted to showcase the work of Giles Davies, a new and welcome discovery for our little gallery in Swaledale. Summit-Thorpe-CloudLO  Through the medium of collage Gile’s creates images reminiscent of the fells and mountains that surround us, carefully matching the colours, textures and shapes of the scene with cuttings from colour magazines. Look from a distance and the collage blends together into a wonderful, vibrant landscape. Study more closely and you’ll find crowds of people, roads, cafes, flowers, lily ponds and tens of other abstract images, combining to create a whole much greater than the sum of its parts.Snowdon-icy-dawnLOWe think it’s wonderful, magical and quite unique stuff, and we’re sure you’ll think the same.

Richard & Polly 


Yorkshire’s Coast & Sea, John Sibson

Every so often, in our gallery, I find someone staring intently at a John Sibson watercolour; an eyes fixed full concentration do not disturb sort of stare. When I eventually break their focus they invariably explain that they’re working on a watercolour of their own, but are not sure how to do trees, or drystone walls, or some other technical aspect, and it’s John’s work they’ve turned to … And you can understand why; the delicacy of touch, translucency of colour, finely observed detail and technical mastery are palpable in his work.

For the Yorkshire’s Coast & Sea Exhibition, we’re delighted that John’s fixed his gaze on our wonderful East Coast and produced several original works, bringing yet another unique perspective and style to the exhibition, and with it perhaps more people staring intently, just checking how John as done the boat, or the sea, or …

evening light staithes muker
Even Light, Staithes | John Sibson
on filey beach muker
On Filey Beach | John Sibson
mooring post staithes muker
Mooring Post, Staithes | John Sibson
bempton cliffs muker
Bemton Cliffs | John Sibson



Up Hill & Down Dale, John Harrison

Between 30th June & 29th July, The Old School is proud to present Up Hill & Down Dale (with a short detour to the coast), a solo exhibition by Drawn in Yorkshire’s John Harrison, as regularly featured in the Dalesman, Yorkshire’s favourite Magazine.

Rupert the Bear, the Eagle, Dandy & Beano, Superman, Batman … For Yorkshire born John Harrison, these, and many more, were early influences. In fact, the very first time John read a Rupert Bear story he just knew he wanted to draw (and be in) those wonderful scenes of an idyllic world. The pen and ink style of all this childhood reading influenced John to a greater extent than he first realised – after trying out most other media John came full circle and for the last few years has worked almost exclusively in a line and wash style. For John it feels the most natural thing in the world and that feeling shines through in his work.

On Saturday 7th July John will be at the Old School to talk about his work, influences and inspiration.


The exhibition will be upstairs in our new Hartlake Gallery exhibition space.

Yorkshire Coast & Sea, Giles Davies

We came across Giles’s collage work just a couple of weeks ago. What a find! … And included in his portfolio of mountains, hills and coastlines was this superb image of Whitby with its wonderful colours and reflections.

Whitby, September Sun | Giles Davies

Though we’d already printed all the signs, posters and leaflets for Yorkshire Coast & Sea, we simply had to include it as it provides another unique and original perspective on our beautiful coastline.

… And we’re pleased say that a wider range of Giles’s work will feature in the gallery as we move into our second season (more to follow).

Richard & Polly


Yorkshire Coast & Sea, Jill Ray

Jill’s stand was the first we encountered as we walked through the entrance to our very first Harrogate trade show as new gallery owners, almost 1 year ago today. What an introduction; I was gobsmacked! Jill’s work was just what was needed as we strived to bring different styles and a modern look to our gallery in Muker.

Walk on the Coast; Winter | Jill Ray

We weren’t the only ones to be gobsmacked! Over the past year Jill’s work has been wowing our customers, whose hardest choice is often which one to pick!

G155 Clearing Skies low res - Jill Ray
Clearing Skies, Robin Hood’s Bay | Jill Ray

Though Jill’s moorland scenes are the obvious choice for our land locked gallery in upper Swaledale, we’re really pleased that Yorkshire’s Coast & Sea allows us to extend our reach and showcase Jill’s stunning coastal work, including superb new work created for the exhibition.

Richard & Polly 





Yorkshire’s Coast & Sea – Piers Browne

For 2018 the Old School Galley now showcases the work of Piers Browne and we’re delighted that Piers’s work will also feature in our Yorkshire’s Coast & Sea Exhibition. 

November Sunset at Sandsend, With Redshanks (featured image) is a wonderful example of Pier’s seascape oil paintings of the Yorkshire Coast, the ripples of the sand and  receding tide, reflecting both the colours of the sky and a pair of redshanks hugging the shoreline, create a feeling of space and capture a snapshot in time. Wonderful! … and we can’t wait to hang it in our new Hartlake Gallery.






Peter Brook at the Old School

We recently discovered this rare artist proof Peter Brook lithograph in an antique shop. June, Canal, was part of the 12 Months of the Year series commissioned by Agnews in 1976 and printed in 1978 in editions of 150. This artist proof is one of only 20 produced. In recognition of the importance of the work a copy of the series is held by the Tate (http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/brook-twelve-months-of-the-year-65263). Now remounted and reframed, June, Canal is in now in our main gallery.

June, Canal is an example of Peter’s earlier style – there’s no Peter with dog! The colours are muted, and you can feel the calm and tranquil mood, but through the arch of the bridge are the mills of a nearby town, no doubt a hive of industry. We don’t know where the painting depicts, but perhaps a good guess is that the canal is the Calder & Hebble Navigation which runs through the mill towns of Brighouse and Elland, close to where Peter lived and worked.


Title:  June, Canal

Medium: Artist Proof, Lithograph

Size: H81xW99cm Framed

Price: £595

Peter’s work has a special place in the history of the Old School; he was good friends with Mike and Diane, who then owned the Gallery, and often visited to paint views of Swaledale and to support exhibitions; people who visit us recall with fondness meeting him.

We’re very happy to continue The Old School’s association with his work, and always have a good selection of his work on display.

Richard & Polly  


Yorkshire Coast & Sea – Sue Nichol

The first time I met Sue, collecting paintings for the Old School Gallery from her studio, I fell hook, line and sinker for a painting hung high on her wall; The Great Wave (feature image above), inspired by Hokusai’s The Great Wave off Kanagawa, but absolutely a Sue Nichol, full of energy, power and life.

Painted in the moment, in my minds eye I could visualise the paint splashing around from Sue’s brush, mimicking the sea spray as the wave breaks. As I left, I knew I had to devise a cunning plan to somehow bring the Great Wave to landlocked upper Swaledale, and hence on that day the idea for an exhibition was born. Imagine my great delight when Sue emailed this week to say The Great Wave would be part of our Yorkshire’s Coast & Sea Exhibition.

Bempton Cliffs | Sue Nichol

Sue’s great inspiration is “the edges of land”, especially our North East Coast where she was born and visits whenever she can. Her passion and feeling for the coast, and sheer joy of painting, shines through in her art, and it’s an ongoing pleasure to showcase Sue’s work at the Old School.

Richard & Polly 

The Drawings of Nolan Stacey

New for 2018, The Old School is very pleased to welcome the pencil and charcoal drawings of Nolan Stacey, superbly illustrating the wildlife that lives beside us in the Yorkshire Dales.


When we visited Nolan’s gallery back in November, so many drawings caught our eye, but it was the charcoal drawings of Ravens (a favourite since first reading Tolkien’s The Hobbit as a kid) that I enthused about as we drove home to Muker. The detail of the Raven, combined with the dreamy quality of foreground and background, to my eye turns the work into something unique and special, and though my guess is that it will be Nolan’s wonderfully observed studies of Swaledale sheep and hares that will prove the most popular, for me it will be always be Raven IV.

Richard & Polly

Alistair Brookes Raku Sculptures

For 2018 The Old School is extremely chuffed to welcome the work of Alistair Brookes into our deminutive gallery in upper Swaledale. Each piece is hand made, so individual and original. Each is a stunning work of art. Alistair’s passion for both his craft and his subjects, and the care he puts into each sculpture, become embedded into the clay as he works, and just oozes out of each finished piece.

Shepherds | Alistair Brookes

In Alistair’s words …

“Clay artefacts are embedded in all our cultures and continue to endure the ravages of time. Contributing in some small way I try to depict life and time in the Dales. Raku pottery is my preferred method of working as it seems to breath some kind of life into the clay, it is serendipty but then that’s half the fun of it.”

Men on a Girder | Alistair Brookes
Men on a Girder (admiring a Peter Brook) | Alistair Brookes
Lead miner, Heading to the Mine | Alistair Brookes
Mining Incident | Alistair Brookes

Farming and lead mining are synonymous with upper Swaledale, so it feels like Alistair’s work belongs in our gallery in Muker. New York sky scrapers we don’t have, but we can admire from afar:)

Richard & Polly

The Old School welcomes Piers Browne

The Old School is delighted and thrilled to showcase the work of celebrated painter, printmaker, author and composer, Piers Browne, who lives and works just “over the top” from our gallery, in a farmhouse commanding the most beautiful views of his beloved Wensleydale. Piers’s work will feature in our main gallery and in our Yorkshire’s Coast & Sea Exhibition in April & May, and signed copies of his epic book, THE GLORIOUS TREES OF GREAT BRITAIN, containing 167 etchings made over a period of 20 years, will be available to purchase.


Unlike many art prints, all of Pier’s etchings are genuine prints, run through the press in his workshop. Each one is lovingly created by hand, inked by hand, printed by hand and signed to say genuine. Made by hand, no two prints are exactly the same; each is therefore an individual, original, work of art.



Currently on display in the GalleryDSC04576Title: May Plum Blossom: Towards upper Wensleydale with Swallows

Medium: Etching

Size: H63xW71cm Framed

Price: £695

DSC04581Title: Winter Sun: Hardraw Force, Wensleydale

Medium: Etching

Size: H97xW76cm Framed

Price: £695

DSC04577Title: Wensleydale in Springtime, the Kiss

Medium: Etching

Size: H47xW40cm Framed

Price: £265

DSC04578Title: Ash Grove

Medium: Etching

Size: H35xW33cm Framed

Price: £195

We have more framed etchings in stock and prints in our browsers. Please ask.

In Piers’s own words …

PIERS BROWNE has had 100 exactly One-man’s worldwide, from Malibu to Munster in Westphalia, and knows nothing really works in a picture unless the love, the initial inspiration, is passionate right until the last brushmark or final line drawn on the etching plate(s).

He has made Wensleydale his adored valley and over 40 years has ventured ‘over the top’, indeed when first painting here in1972, it was the Farmer’s Arms he loved to visit of a summer evening.

He was made Painter of North England in the prestigious ING Discerning Eye show in London, 2011, and ‘PAINTER OF THE NORTH’ in the 2012 Great North Art Show, and regularly shows at the RA Summer Exhibition. But turned more to book writing and illustrating when from 1980 to 2000 he made 167 etchings for a book he co-wrote called THE GLORIOUS TREES OF GREAT BRITAIN – a book of only 400 of 4000 copies left which these gallery owners like so much Piers is making this gallery his main TREES book outlet!

His aim is bring fresh air and exciting compositions into anyone’s sitting room on any dank, dark, dank British day with his novella (33,000 words 29 images): “LA ROUTE DES VIOLETTES’ set in south-east Provence which is also here. This is being reprinted for a huge edition as some french people say it will sell in thousands over there! certainly it’s been translated into french. The edition here was a first effort and self published in 500 copies – now 250 as PB not happy with the printing or quality of picture which, on suoper papoer, became darker.

Piers will always etch and paint: there is so much beauty about – as at Saltburn or Sandsend…and has released a rare oil of radshanks for this gallery’s opening.


1974 & 1975 David Murray Landscape Prize, London

1975 Certificate of Painting after 3 years’s at the Royal Academy Schools

1986 Rank Xerox Printmaking Prize 1986 London

1987 John Player Portrait Award 2nd Prize National Portrait Gallery

1987 Norsk Hydro Painting Award, Darlington

Late 1990’s: supplied 100 etchings for P&O”Aurora’s State Rooms

1991 WHSmith Illustrated Book of the Year/joint First prize with Wordsworth book

2009 Artichoke Printmaking Award, London

2011 Made ‘Painter of the North’ in the London DISCERNING EYE show

2012 Winner of The Great North Art Show, Ripon Cathedral

2012-17 Five One-mans and 2017, as ever a picture in the NEAC, central London, then writing and illustrating his first novella set in Provence “A ROUTE DES VIOLETTES” .


Melvyn Bragg: “I am full of admiration for Piers’ lovely work.”

HRH Prince Charles, who wrote the foreword to the Trees book: “Trees also have a unique capacity to lift our spirits, and it is entirely this intangible dimension that Piers Browne evokes so splendidly.”

Giles Auty (Art Critic in UK 1965 – 80): “Piers is a true Romantic dedicated simply to his Art.”

Justine Brooks: “What energy the man has – a good painter-etcher”

Diana Armfield RA & her husband Bernard Dunstan RA: “We both admire the wonderful intensity of Piers’ vision, and, in some of his Oils, the handling with its rythmn of paint marks

makes for a strange beauty all of their own. His etchings are superb”.



A Shropshire Lad 1988 25 handmade books Kingsley Amis foreword publ Ashford Buchan & Enright.SOLD OUT.

An Elegy in Arcady 1990 20 boxed sets SOLD OUT.

William Wordsworth: A Lakeland Anthology 1991John Mortimer foreword. Publ John Murray.SOLD OUT.

Wensleydale: Etchings & Verse 1994 David Astor foreword. Publ Ashford Press SOLD OUT.

Glorious Trees of Gt Britain 2002 HRH Pr Charles foreword. Publ John Murray. 400 remaining of 4000

Sonnets for a Siren 2008 20 handmade books + real silver jackets. 27 sonnets by PB. To be published

Love in the Aegean 2011 Soft back, fully illustrated from paintings by PB with 24 of his shorter poems.

La Route des Violettes Hard back ed 500, illustrated from 29 etchings by PB – a novella of 100 pages



Yorkshire’s Coast & Sea – Clare Caulfield

Artist and printmaker Clare Caulfield has travelled to, and been inspired by,  many of the world’s greatest cities: Paris, Venice, New York, Rome, Prague, Istanbul & Sydney, to name just a few, but for the first time, as part of the Yorkshire’s Coast & Sea Exhibition, Clare’s work will be showcased in perhaps the prettiest of them all, Muker in Upper Swaledale.

Robin Hoods Bay

Clare’s line drawings and drypoint prints, combining elements of chine-collie to add subtle colour, perfectly capture the hustle and bustle of Yorkshire’s coastal towns and villages: house stacked upon house; bright red tiled roofs; fishing boats drawn up on shore , folk milling about on the narrow streets whilst seagulls wheel above their heads; a snapshot in time captured in Clare’s unique, spontaneous, style.


When we saw Clare’s work we instantly fell in love. We’ve no doubt you will too.

Richard & Polly 



Bright Woods Spring & Autumn

New for 2018, Light of Spring & Light of Autumn, from Jill Ray’s Bright Woods collection. Wonderful digital art that captures the atmosphere of the woods in a way I’ve singularly failed to do as a photographer. You’ll find them hanging in our revamped cafe / gallery, alongside Jill’s On The Moor series, and will find more of Jill’s work in our main Gallery.

Jill’s fabulous coastal work will form part of our Yorkshire’s Coast & Sea Exhibition, running through April and early May 2018.

Light of Spring, Jill Ray
Light of Autumn, Jill Ray

Yorkshire’s Coast & Sea

From Saturday 31st March to Sunday 13th May, the Old School Muker brings Yorkshire’s stunning East Coast to landlocked Upper Swaledale, featuring a wonderful array of Yorkshire artists and photographers. 

The exhibition will be the first to be held in our new Hartlake Gallery and to celebrate its opening, our first exhibition, and our newly landscaped walled garden, there will be an open evening on Saturday 7th April from 5:30pm – 8pm, with wine, music and a chance to meet some of the artists.

Over the coming weeks we’ll be profiling each of the artists involved and providing a sea drenched taste of their work. Stay tuned!

Richard & Polly 

Winter in Swaledale 2 – Muker Minimalism

Yesterday’s wintery conditions in Muker provided an ideal opportunity to take a couple of hours out from the renovation of the Old School and shoot some minimal monochrome images, before using these as a basis to create something a little dreamier using movement blur in Analog  Efex Pro.  It might not be everyone’s taste but it was a joy to be a little more creative.










New Arrivals, John Harrison

John fought through a bad back and yesterday’s “seasonal” weather to deliver four, new, superb line and watercolour paintings of Muker, Gunnerside & Hemsley. We’re really chuffed he made the effort. I guess you have to suffer for your art!



Title: Muker

Artist: John Harrison

Medium: Original line and watercolour

Dimensions:  ~H45cm x W35cm Framed

Price: £265





Title: Gunnerside

Artist: John Harrison

Medium: Original line and watercolour

Dimensions: ~ H64cm x W36cm Framed

Price: £295







Title: Swaledale over Gunnerside

Artist: John Harrison

Medium: Original line and watercolour

Dimensions: ~ H45cm x W35cm Framed

Price: £265





Title: Hemsley

Artist: John Harrison

Medium: Original line and watercolour

Dimensions: ~ H43m x W26cm Framed

Price: £225