Special exhibitions at Wordsworth House and Garden

An albatross sitting on a stone structure in the ocean

Wordsworth House and Garden’s second major exhibition of the year focuses on our relationship with the fragile landscapes that surround us.

In ‘Under Northern Skies’, a group of teenage curators have staged a takeover to share their hopes and fears for the natural environment.

Taking their cue from William Wordsworth’s role in motivating the founders of the National Trust and the global conservation movement, the youngsters have created a powerful display highlighting the ways in which we humans are damaging the world around us.

It includes a selection of original illustrations by artist Gustave Doré for ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’, written by Wordsworth’s fellow Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge and published in their co-authored volume The Lyrical Ballads.

There is also a full-sized taxidermy albatross. One of the world’s largest birds, it was used by Coleridge to symbolise man’s arrogance towards nature and is under threat today from pollution and destructive fishing practices.

Devastating consequences

National Trust volunteering and participation consultant Vicky Wilkinson explains: ‘The Rime is a poem with a universal theme: the fragile bond between ourselves and the world in which we live. In it, a sailor shoots an albatross that has guided his ship to safety, with devastating consequences.

‘The youth curators have been really inspiring to work with and have interpreted the poem as a powerful environmental warning, with special relevance for our polluted seas. The exhibition includes installations assembled from plastic gathered at local beach cleans.’

Wordsworth House visitor experience manager Zoe Gilbert adds: ‘We’re thrilled to be working with the young curators, who have chosen creative and thought-provoking ways to highlight questions closely linked to the issues that concerned William throughout his life.’

‘Under Northern Skies’ is open from Saturday to Thursday, 11am to 4pm, until 3 November. Entry is free with admission to the house and garden.

This Land is Our Land

In our first exhibition of the year, ‘This Land is Our Land’, which closed at the start of September, multiple – often contradictory – voices shared their passion for the Lake District and their thoughts on its future.

Exhibition contributors included writers Robert Macfarlane, Sarah Hall, Hunter Davies and George Monbiot, artist Julian Cooper and others living and working in the Lakes.