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Penrith and Eden Museum launches mistletoe inspired Art Challenge

Jacob Thompson’s painting ‘The Druids collecting the Mistletoe’ and Penrith artist Jacob Thompson (1806-1879)

[B]udding painters of all ages will hopefully be drawn to visit Penrith and Eden Museum to take part in a new Art Challenge based around a historic painting by local artist Jacob Thompson (1806-1879).

The Art Challenge is being organised by Museum Curator, Corinna Leenen and local artist Karen MacDougall. People of all ages and artistic ability are being asked to be inspired by the Museum’s newest Jacob Thompson painting ‘The Druids collecting the Mistletoe’. This work is an oil on canvas painting from 1832. It shows figures at work in a wooded clearing in the Eden Valley. The magnificent Bronze Age stone circle of Long Meg and Her Daughters is clearly visible in the distance.

Penrith and Eden Museum

Museum Curator, Corinna Leenen, said: “We’re excited to be putting on this Challenge. It will be a fantastic opportunity for people to have their works displayed in our galleries for everyone to see. Jacob Thompson’s ‘Druids’ painting is one of the highlights of our collection, so it will be great to engage more people with it and see how the subject matter can spark their curiosity and imagination.”

The Art Challenge is free to enter. All entries will be reproduced and shown in the Museum. The top 3 entries in each class will be mounted and displayed in one of the galleries from 19 January-9 February 2018. There will also be individual prizes and a prize for each school, with a pupil winning first prize in each age category. The prizes have kindly been donated by the Derwent Pencil Museum.

Local artist Karen MacDougall said: “Be inspired by Jacob Thompson’s wonderful painting. You could use the idea of a local landscape, paint how the Druids are feeling or copy one of the figures in a modern landscape – whatever ideas spring to mind as you look at the painting. This is YOUR painting! I am looking forward to seeing some fantastic paintings for the exhibition in January.”

Jacob Thompson Art Challenge 2017 rules
This is a painting competition. Work will be accepted in any painting medium. This will also include the use of inks and Inktense or watercolour pencils or sticks.

The artwork should be inspired by some aspect of Jacob Thompson’s painting, ‘The Druids Collecting the Mistletoe’ which he painted in 1832. This painting is on permanent display in the Museum.

Entry to the Art Challenge is free. Size of entry is: A4 minimum and A3 maximum size of image, excluding any mount or frame.

Mounting and framing: All works should be submitted unmounted, except for canvases, which may be submitted framed, but not glazed.

Artist name, plus school name, or home address and contact details, must be securely fixed on the back of your entry.

The age group category must be stated. Categories are:

  • KS1 work from Reception to Year 2;
  • KS2 work from Year 3 to 6;
  • Secondary School up to year 11;
  • Open to age 16 and above.

Work without this information will not be judged or displayed in the Museum. Work should be submitted, adequately protected, to Penrith Tourist Information Office, 42 Middlegate, Penrith between 4-13 January 2018.

Work will be judged and mounted between 15-18 January 2018, with the exhibition opening on 19 January and running until 9 February 2018. There will be a panel of 3 judges and their decision will be final.

Background to Jacob Thompson (1806-1879)

A well-known painter from Penrith. His paintings are in St Andrew’s Church and the Penrith and Eden Museum (enter through the Tourist information Centre) in Middlegate, Penrith. Entry is free.

‘The Druids Collecting the Mistletoe’ by Jacob Thompson Oil on canvas, 1832

According to the artist’s biographer, Llewellyn Jewitt, the painting was commissioned by Colonel Samuel Lacy, owner of the monument and surrounding land. The painting provides an evocative example of how prehistoric sites were admired and represented by British artists in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, appealing as subjects both to the prevailing Romantic sensibility and the taste for picturesque scenery and antiquities.

For more information about the Jacob Thompson Art Challenge visit or contact Karen MacDougall telephone: 017683 62499 or email: [email protected]

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