Wainwright in Lakeland was published in 1983 and was:
“DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF FRANCES C. SCOTT who turned his dream of an Art Gallery at Abott Hall into reality”
Mary Burkett, OBE, became the director of Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, in 1966. She first met Alfred Wainwright in 1962 and would meet every Monday morning to discuss Abbot Hall’s finances. They quickly became very close friends. Mary accompanied Wainwright on many of his walks. She became his chauffeur and introduced him to places he had never been.
1983 was the 21st Anniversary of the opening of the Abbot Hall, of which Wainwright was a Trustee. The Gallery was short of funds, and Wainwright wanted to return the favour to Mary by offering a book to the Gallery and Museum. They worked together to produce a compilation of his previous work and be published by the Governors of Abbot Hall. The Westmorland Gazette acquired the copyright of Wainwright’s work in October 1983.
A meeting was held at Abbot Hall to discuss the new book. Everyone agreed on three thousand copies. It would keep the production costs to a minimum. A select number would be signed and numbered by Wainwright and offered on a first-come, first-serve basis. Each book would retail at £15.
The initial proposal was for the first 50 copies to be leather-bound and sold for £25 each. The Westmorland Gazette’s Andrew Nichol suggested 100 copies, which retailed at £50 each. Mary looked at him, and her face beamed with delight at the prospect of extra revenue. Andrew’s intervention was the right decision, and all leather-bound copies were sold before they were even bound. Wainwright would now sign 1,100 books (the first 100 bound in Moroccan leather). The remaining 1,900 were unsigned. Wainwright’s 1974 Westmorland map came with every copy folded into a pocket at the rear of the book. Abbot Hall made about £15,000 from the sales.
In 1985, the Gazette amended and republished Wainwright in Lakeland. An estimated 3,000 copies were printed, and Harry Griffin wrote the foreword.
The Gazette used offset litho printing, which was considered new technology. The negatives cover Presensitized printing plates coated with a photosensitive layer. They are then exposed to ultraviolet rays. This hardens the photosensitive areas of the negative where the light passes through. Once the process is completed, the photosensitive material on the nonprinting site is washed off. The stripped metal is wetted, and the hard material is inked.
Occasionally, the negatives would have pinholes in the emulsion. When Wainwright’s original artwork was shot, these blemishes could have been caused by dust. An opaque was used to spot the holes. This prevents spots from appearing on the printed sheets. Clifford Turner worked for many years in general printing at the Gazette. When he spotted out, he left a couple of signatures on one of the negatives. This was a nice human touch.
In 1988, the trustees of Abbot Hall had an estimated 700/800 unsigned copies from their original 1983 publication. A deal was made, and Wainwright signed the remaining stock exclusively for Geoffrey Halden, the proprietor of Wearings Bookshop, Ambleside. In April 1988, these newly signed, unnumbered books sold for £19.95 each. Over the years, their value increased dramatically, and by the year 2000, Wearings were selling them for £225.
Wainwright in Lakeland is considered one of Wainwright’s significant works. In 2010 the leather-bound book one, priced initially at £50, sold for £2,200 at auction. The leather-bound copies are rare and command high prices.
From top to bottom:
Wainwright in Lakeland leather-bound, numbered and signed, Westmorland Gazette 1983
Wainwright in Lakeland faux leather, numbered and signed, Westmorland Gazette1983
Wainwright in Lakeland faux leather, signed, Westmorland Gazette1983
Wainwright in Lakeland faux leather, Westmorland Gazette1985
Wainwright in Lakeland faux leather (alternative faux leather), Westmorland Gazette 1985
Wainwright in Lakeland faux leather (alternative faux leather), Westmorland Gazette1985