Richard & Cherry Kearton, Wildlife Photography Pioneers.

On the outside wall of the Old School Muker are two plaques commemorating school alumni, Richard and Cherry Kearton. Born in Thwaite, one mile up the Dale, the two brothers attended the school in the late 19th Century before going on to pioneer wildlife photography and cinematography, influencing amongst others Sir David Attenborough.

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Given the stunning wildlife photography and film making we enjoy today;  impossible without modern, hi-tech equipment, it’s worth reflecting on the limitations of the camera gear available to the Keartons, and how incredibly intrepid and inventive they were to capture their shots, including the use of the famous hollow ox as a portable hide.

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We’re currently in conversation with the Museum of Science and Media, who hold in their collection some of the Kearton’s equipment and books, and the V&A whose collection (hopefully) includes some of their original prints, with the aim of holding an exhibition of the Kearton’s work in 2019. Last week I headed down to Bradford to visit to Museum of Science and Media, who were kind enough to provide access to their large and small object stores, both treasure troves of equipment where two of Cherry Kearton’s film cameras are stored.

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We’re now waiting for the V&A to get back in touch before we’re able to take the exhibition to the next stage, so watch this space!!

In the meantime there’s a couple more of the Kearton’s images to enjoy below, and more can be found on the Guardian’s website here:  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/gallery/2016/jul/14/the-keartons-inventing-nature-photography-in-pictures

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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.

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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