About Norman Ackroyd: The Furthest Lands

‘My style is continuously evolving in a way that is continuous and limitless.’ - Norman Ackroyd

YSP presents an exhibition of work by Norman Ackroyd CBE, RA, one of Britain’s foremost landscape artists and contemporary printmakers working today. The Furthest Lands showcases a vast range of work that explores the western edges of the British Isles.

Starting in the extreme north of the Shetland Islands, The Furthest Lands journeys south over 950 miles to the far south-west point of Ireland, through a display of the artist’s intricate aquatint etchings and a small collection of watercolours. Ackroyd’s characteristic muted tones add depth and energy to both familiar and faraway landscapes, including works such as Ailsa Craig, Firth of Clyde (1986), Treshnish Islands, Hebrides (2007) and Off Hermaness, Shetland (2018).

Ackroyd made his first etching over 60 years ago at Leeds College of Art (now named Leeds Arts University). Created in the same period, Storm Over Gildersome (1959) – an atmospheric etching on steel which depicts the skyline of the Yorkshire village – features within the exhibition and has never been shown before.

Many of Ackroyd’s early etchings were created in the Yorkshire landscape. Extending this documentation, Ackroyd has produced a new limited-edition etching, derived from YSP's unique landscape, following a visit to the Park earlier in the year. Bretton Hall (2018) features the iconic mansion house and its surrounding woodland, reflected in Lower Lake. The exhibition is also accompanied by a full-colour catalogue.

Ackroyd will host a series of events at YSP to coincide with The Furthest Lands, including an Etching Demonstration using sugar lift or soft ground etching, on 16 February 2019, in which he will show the process behind creating an aquatint etching, from start to finish, working from his plein air watercolour drawing books through to a final print. The following day, Ackroyd will be in conversation with long-term friend John Bell from Zillah Bell Gallery, Thirsk.

Ackroyd is an advocate for the importance of art education – an ethos strongly supported by YSP, which was born out of Bretton Hall College in 1977, where Executive and Founding Director, Peter Murray worked. Ackroyd was one of over 100 artists to sign an open letter to The Guardian expressing concern over the exclusion of arts and creative subjects from the new English Baccalaureate, or EBacc, for secondary school children.

A range of special merchandise complements the show, including a bone china mug, tea towel, sketchbook and scarves.

Ackroyd is, without question, Britain's leading etcher – and a true master of his craft.

- Mark Hudson

Ackroyd’s characteristic muted, mostly monochrome tones, are powerful and allow the viewer to feel the energy and essence of both familiar and faraway landscapes without the distraction of colours.

- Yorkshire Post