Heaton Cooper Studio
A fine family of creativity
The verdant and vibrant Lake District – for centuries the lure for creative souls to come with their pen, pencil or paintbrush and capture this landscape in their own words and pictures.
The combined family portfolio stretches four generations back to Alfred Heaton Cooper, and captures all sides of the Lakes; from climbers on towering rock buttresses, to becalmed mountain tarns, from valleys in the frozen depths of winter to the highest fells in high summer.The Heaton Cooper family name is one which has become as synonymous with the culture of the Lakes as Ruskin, Wordsworth or Potter. One could even argue more so; this is a family who, through the generations have each lived and breathed in this landscape, refining their craft and working the land by way of watercolour on paper.
Rebecca, or Becky as she prefers, is at the helm of the family business (for art is a business, after all) comprising a thriving studio-gallery and contemporary café in the heart of Grasmere village, as well as a website – www.heatoncooper.co.uk – selling the Heaton Cooper artworks across the globe.
“Reproduction of original paintings is something of a perennial challenge for the art world; that incredibly fine balance to achieve faithful reproduction of colour, texture and detail – many have tried, plenty have failed.” comments Becky, a client of Absolute Digital Print for more than a decade.
“We know what the original paintings inside-out, so we know how they should look when reproduced. It’s not just our expectation, it’s that of our customers and one which I am duty-bound to uphold to my family, preserving the integrity of their work.”
The detail carried through to these fine art prints is exemplary, helped in no small part to the stochastic screening used by Absolute Digital Print, a process which employs random distribution and varying density of dots to great accuracy.
From greetings cards to large format fine art reproductions onto canvas and art-board stock, the consistency and quality never fails. And nor should it be allowed to, with colour output settings recorded and referred to time and again to ensure that each print is as good as the first.
“Our relationship with Absolute has never been one of customer and supplier; I know it sounds terribly clichéd, but it really is more like a partnership. They’re not just about ink on paper, they work with us and rise to any challenge, they’ve never let us down.”
The opening of the new Heaton Cooper Café in the summer of 2017 saw the production of a centrepiece print, reproduced from an original by Becky’s grandfather, William Heaton Cooper:
“It only seems right that a painting of the mountain [Scafell in this instance] should feature in large format. The final size is 1.5 metres by 2 metres and is by far the biggest print of William’s watercolours.”
“We were also commissioned by Forest Side (the Michelin-starred restaurant in Grasmere) for a large canvas for their reception. This was a little smaller (1.5 metres x 1.3 metres) and, again, we used Absolute Digital Print for the commission; everyone was delighted with the quality of the piece.”
The original painting was photographed by Jack Loan, a highly respected local photographer with an incredible wealth of experience in fine art reproduction.
“Retaining detail at these sizes is the biggest challenge which is where our expertise and experience really came into play.” adds Absolute’s Jon Wallbank.
“Having a long-established working relationship with our photographer Jack Loan is paramount to consistently achieve the best results, so it was a real partnership approach.”“I’ll be honest, we weren’t entirely sure how it would work but I really needn’t have worried; Jon and the Absolute guys were brilliant, as is the finish print.”
In a relatively modest frame and positioned on the café’s feature wall of Farrow & Ball Stiffkey Blue, the colours of a painting created nearly a hundred years ago stand proud and every line, every stroke stands up to the closest inspection.
William’s work features elsewhere in the café, albeit rather less orthodox, with sections of preparatory watercolour sketches printed onto canvas and transformed into large format suspended light shades. Again, Absolute provided the print before the canvas was passed to a specialist in the West Midlands to make the shades.
We love working with Becky and the Heaton Cooper Studio; it can be very precise, highly accurate work and, in the case of the large format print, a real challenge. It can also be great fun, getting involved in very diverse commissions. Becky is herself highly creative and there’s always something new or left-field being discussed, the café lampshades being just one example. We like the way she comes to us for solutions and we’re already looking forward to hearing what she has in line for us next!