Popular art prize returns to celebrate the legacy of a leading Victorian artist and philanthropist

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Over 20 finalists have been selected for this year's Louisa Waterford Prize event. The work, which includes paintings, textiles and sculpture will be exhibited over three days at Ford and Etal in Northumberland. The event on May 4 - 6 also includes art workshops and demonstrations, as well as an evening talk about Lady Waterford's art and her life.

The Louisa Waterford Prize celebrates the legacy of Louisa Beresford (nee Stuart) Marchioness of Waterford, who changed many lives across Northumberland through her art, her vision and philanthropic work. She is often described as "a woman ahead of her time", not just because of her artwork, but because she built hundreds of new homes and modernised others for communities in Ireland, at Ford and Etal and also Seaton Sluice in Northumberland. Louisa also set up a women's mission and a national fund, following the massive mining disaster at Hartley Pit in 1862, which killed over 200 men and boys.

The art prize was founded in 2022 by former ITV Tyne Tees journalist Lesley McNish to help celebrate Louisa's good deeds and talent. Lesley who runs The Tin Shed art and events staged the inaugural event at Lady Waterford Hall, the former school house Louisa built for local children.

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This year's event is at neighbouring Etal Village so visitors can go to two venues rather than just one. It means they can see the exhibition of local artists' work at Etal Village Hall and a second one of Louisa's own work at Ford Village. In recent years Lady Waterford Hall has been bequeathed more of Louisa's work which was previously held in private collections. That is now on permanent display there..

Louisa Waterford Prize 2024Louisa Waterford Prize 2024
Louisa Waterford Prize 2024

This year there are 21 finalists and 30 exhibits for the Louisa Waterford Prize. They will be shown at Etal over three days, Saturday 4 May to Monday 6 May, 10.30am to 3.30pm. Entry is free and some of the work exhibited will be for sale.

The winner will be announced by the judges at Etal Village Hall at about 1pm on Monday 6 May.

This year's event also includes a half-day outdoor painting workshop with leading plein-air artist Stuart Jones, an outdoor sketching demonstration by local artist Linda Scott-Robinson and a painting demo (indoors at Etal) by Northumberland artist Linda Gaskell. Places on Stuart's workshop are limited and should be booked directly with him. The other sessions are free. Please see details on The Tin Shed website.There is also a special evening talk about Louisa by historian and author Caroline Ings-Chambers PhD, at Lady Waterford Hall on Saturday 4 May at 7pm (doors open 6.30pm). Tickets are £10 (includes welcome drink). Please book online at The Tin Shed.The talk "Louisa - Artist, Philanthropist, Free Spirit" will give a unique insight into her life and her work. At the end of the talk there'll be a Q&A session and an opportunity to view Louisa's work. Caroline, who is a lecturer in London, is the author of the best-selling book "For you have not Falsely Praised" based on letters between Louisa and her friend, the author and art critic John Ruskin.She is also one of the 4 judges of the Prize. The other judges are: Lady Harriet Joicey, chair of the Louisa Waterford Hall Trust; Helen Hastings, ceramicist/artist and owner of Hastings First Gallery in Coldstream; and Peter Fagan, sculptor and owner of The Old Forge at Ford Village.

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The winner will receive a cash prize donated by Ford and Etal Estates, along with opportunities to show their winning piece at First Gallery's Summer Exhibition and also at Lady Waterford Hall. They'll also join one of The Tin Shed's events with more of their work and receive an online Studio space. The exhibition includes paintings, textiles, sculptures and much more.

Ford Schoolhouse (now Lady Waterford Hall)Ford Schoolhouse (now Lady Waterford Hall)
Ford Schoolhouse (now Lady Waterford Hall)

There will be other exhibits and demos across Ford and Etal at the Studios and Galleries of the artists and makers already based there, including Madcap Gallery at Etal, Ravynclay Pottery and sculptor Peter Fagan at Ford and John Speight studio at Heatherslaw. Please find more information on the Tin Shed events page at www.thetinshed.co.uk