Exhibition to open after two year delay

A new photographic exhibition that captures the silence of lockdown at a World Heritage Site, will open this weekend near Ripon.

By Janet Harrison
Tuesday, 5th April 2022, 10:40 am

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal will host the work of renowned landscape photographer Joe Cornish with Still Time to Wonder, which runs until October 31.

Justin Scully, General Manager of Fountains Abbey who commissioned the exhibition, said: “I commissioned Joe to respond to Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal as a landscape that reflects almost 900 years of our cultural and natural heritage.

“The exhibition was due to take place in 2020, to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the National Trust.

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Work featured in the new Joe Cornish photographic exhibition at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal. Picture: Joe Cornish

“Instead, we were able to extend the time available to Joe to spend here and he captured images in the absolute stillness of a world in lockdown.

“Without air or road traffic sounds, or the busy movement of visitors. A special kind of quiet that we’ll likely not ever see again here.

“These images will form a permanent record of a moment in time for this World Heritage Site, both pre, during, and post the global pandemic.  

“Growing up in North Yorkshire, I loved Joe’s work and the way he captured so perfectly the Yorkshire landscape, so it has been a great privilege to work with him here at Fountains.

“I hope people find, as I have, that Joe’s work realises the beauty of this Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal and the special place it holds not only in the history of Yorkshire and our country, but as a treasure for the wider world.”

Throughout the length of the exhibition, visitors will be able to take inspiration from Joe’s work and the way both nature and man has sculpted the design of the landscape at Fountains with a special exhibition map.

This will highlight the areas of the estate which feature in the exhibition as well places people might never have seen before.

Joe said: “Fountains represents a microcosm of our complex relationship with nature over many centuries.

“Today it is peaceful and serene, a place to wander and wonder.

“Here we might take exercise, renew friendships, find solace, inspiration, ideas, and perhaps above all the beauty contained in this unique valley.”

There’s a trail for children too.

The printed trail aims to encourage the exploration of the whimsical themes in Joe’s work like hunting for hidden faces.