Ian Lawson - Herdwick


A Portrait of Lakeland

Ian Lawson - herdwick Book (Lake District)

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Herdwick, A Portrait of Lakeland documents one notional year in the Lake District National Park

A genuinely honest labour of love, a project which has encompassed years of camera work and dedication to create this beautifully imagined work of art. A breed as noble as the Herdwick deserves no less. Narrated through sweeping landscapes and intimate portraits of mountain shepherds and their doughty Herdwick sheep, ‘the little grey monarch of the fells.’

Ian Lawson - Herdwick

Setting The Scene

‘‘My photographs depict a classic vision of old Lakeland, a last glimpse of a fast disappearing world, the Lake District as it still is in very few places. In a technological age, the life of a Herdwick shepherd can seem anachronistic, but theirs is not a life lived out of time. Rather it’s one deeply attuned to the rhythms underpinning our very existence.’’

Ian Lawson - Books Ancient Rights

Bleating Hearts

I have often asked myself what it is about the Herdwick breed I admire so much?

Perhaps it is their soul-searching eyes or their friendly white faces. Of one thing I am sure, however: Herdwicks make great subjects for my camera, each one a character with a host of expressions calculated to turn the casual observer into a lifelong fan. They certainly wove their way into my heart and I quickly learnt that, without them, the Lake District we all love, owes everything to the little grey sheep and their shepherds who still ply their ancient trade by tending to their needs and keep.

Holding the stony wastes, their countenance evoke the Lakeland heartlands of Wasdale, Eskdale, Buttermere, Borrowdale and Langdale. The stoic Herdwick always looks right at home, hefted in those high mountains, grey of wool, heads braced against harsh winter winds.

My work, my legacy? The Herdwick gave me all the inspiration I ever needed to tell my story and help create, what I hoped for; the most beautiful and thoughtful book the Lake District has ever seen. I sincerely hope that through this body of work that they will also weave their way into your life as well.

Ian Lawson - Herdwick
Ian Lawson - Herdwick

Pride and Honour

A career highlight worth celebrating with a heartfelt foreword from Clarence House.

I was humbled by the contribution made by His Royal Highness, Prince Charles, to Herdwick. His thorough understanding of the challenges and opportunities presented by Herdwick fell farming is evidenced in his foreword. To have my work so warmly recognised by a gentleman who clearly has a piece of Lakeland in his heart is a great honour. The following year we shared a memorable private viewing of my major solo exhibition at Rheged, Cumbria.

(Excerpts from foreword, HRH Prince Charles Forward, Herdwick - A Portrait of Lakeland)

'Through the stunning photographs, the interconnectedness of the Herdwick sheep with those who manage and care for them and with the Fells of the Lake District is explained more succinctly than a book of a thousand pages. The Herdwick, like those who farm them, are of the hardiest stock. Together, they exist in perhaps the most challenging, yet beautiful, scenery in England and this book is a testament to this very special relationship of man, animal and Nature. Both are ‘hefted’ to that most evocative of landscapes.'

'I pray that this book will not only bring great enjoyment and pleasure to those who love the Lake District, but will also help change perceptions of what is truly valuable and so create an understanding that the Herdwick carries on its back not just the history of the Fells, but its future too.'

Ian Lawson - Prince Charles HRH Ian Lawson - Gallery
Ian Lawson - Herdwick
Ian Lawson



MaterialHardcover - Silk bindings. Foil-stamped

PresentationCustom slipcase with suede-cloth lining. Gift-box with carry handle.

TextEnglish 21,000 words

Weight5 kilos / 11lbs

Photographs295 Full-plate colour photographs

Size35cm x 29cm x 5.5cm

PaperHeavy-weight silk art

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Ian Lawson - Herdwick