An exhibition has been launched on the shores of Windermere celebrating the Lake Districtworks of a Chinese artist, poet and travel writer who visited the area in the 1930s.
English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues is hosting the free exhibition through to the end of October this year to showcase the unique work of Chiang Yee.
The artist is best known for his publication The Silent Traveller: A Chinese Artist in Lakeland, an illustrated journal about his visit to the area in the 1930s.
An audience of local businesses, tourism leaders, culture enthusiasts and local residents attended the launch of the exhibition at Low Wood Bay Resort Hotel and Marina.
They heard a presentation about Chinese art from Jin Lipeng, a teacher and PhD student at Lancaster University, before enjoying a special afternoon high tea featuring Chinese teas and cakes.
Jin Lipeng talked about the differences between Chinese and Western landscape painting. Chinese artists typically paint from memory and rather than painting the view exactly as they have seen it, they paint what is in their mind.
As a result, Chiang Yee’s illustrations of Lake District scenes look very familiar but are also similar to paintings of lakes and mountains in China. Jin also pointed out the importance of the empty spaces in Chinese landscape paintings and their relationship with the drawings of lakes and mountains.
Colin Fox from English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues explains: “This was the perfect start to the exhibition and we hope that many local residents and visitors to the area will take the time to come and see Chiang Yee’s wonderful illustrations and poems on display here.
“Many people already know about the famous British poets and artists associated with the area. However, Chiang Yee’s illustrations and descriptive narrative capture our landscapes and local character in a distinctive way that is influenced by his experience as a Chinese artist.”
The free exhibition is open to all, with Chiang Yee’s paintings and poems on display in the Buckley room at Low Wood Bay daily. Afternoon visitors can also benefit from the opportunity to take a traditional high tea whilst enjoying the displays, and sample some Chinese teas.
Chiang Yee, who grew up in Jiangxi, left China in 1933 but greatly missed the lakes and mountains. He was also drawn to the Lake District because of its links with English poets like William Wordsworth, and famous artists such as John Constable and J M W Turner who also painted there.
Chiang Yee went on to produce other books in The Silent Traveller series, recounting visits to other parts of Great Britain, including Edinburgh and the Yorkshire Dales, as well as travels in America. He also wrote books on Chinese painting and calligraphy and is credited with creating the Chinese translation for Coca Cola 可口可乐.
Low Wood Bay Resort Hotel is a luxury hotel with stunning views across Lake Windermere to some of the Lake District’s most famous mountains.