Pilgrim Coast paintings to help mark return of Lindisfarne Gospels

Stunning paintings which capture some of the sacred sites and ancient pathways of old Northumbria will go on display next month to coincide with the return of the Lindisfarne Gospels.

St Cuthbert's elevation, Church Hill and Alnmouth at first light by Scottish landscape artist Ramsay Gibb
St Cuthbert's elevation, Church Hill and Alnmouth at first light by Scottish landscape artist Ramsay Gibb

Stunning paintings which capture some of the sacred sites and ancient pathways of old Northumbria will go on display next month to coincide with the return of the Lindisfarne Gospels.

The Pilgrim Coast – a new collection of watercolours by Scottish landscape artist Ramsay Gibb – features historic locations from Holy Island to St Herbert’s Isle, which played a part in the uptake of Christianity.

The exhibition, which showcases paintings of pilgrim routes, shrines and other historic remains, goes on show at Woodhorn Museum near Ashington, and the Granary Gallery in Berwick, from July 13 until September 8.

It has been brought to Northumberland as part of the regional programme around this summer’s return of the Lindisfarne Gospels to the North East.

The priceless Anglo-Saxon manuscript, written in honour of St Cuthbert, is on loan from the British Library and will be on display in Durham University for three months.

The Pilgrim Coast exhibitions have been arranged in conjunction with London’s Francis Kyle Gallery and Northumberland County Council.

Ramsay Gibb is renowned for his paintings recording journeys across the British Isles in search of ancient pilgrim roads leading to sacred sites.

For The Pilgrim Coast, he walked two of the principal routes associated with St Cuthbert in his travels across tidal sands, mountain strongholds, islands and hermitages.

The paintings encompass the wider region of ancient Northumbria, from north of the Humber as far as the Firth of Forth and westwards across to Morecambe Bay.

Woodhorn marketing officer, Deborah Tate, said: “These are very traditional landscape paintings, but they are beautiful and stunning images.”

The paintings focus on some of the places most intimately connected to the spiritual life of Northumbria’s kings, people and saints.

They explore the connection between the landscape and what was once Northumbria, together with the lives of saints such as Cuthbert, Aidan and Oswald.

Speaking about The Pilgrim Coast, Mr Gibb said he said he had been struck by the sight of footprints in the wet sands leading to Holy Island, being continually washed out and obliterated by the tide and then re-established by the feet of new pilgrims.

“This collection returns to the origins of my inspiration, to the stories of one of the richest flowerings of spirituality in these islands, the blossoming of Christianity that took place in Northumbria.”

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