A Return to the Coast


“A Return to the Coast”, which ran through the summer and autumn of 2011, exhibited paintings of the rocks of the Yorkshire coast both as a touring exhibition and as posters on railway stations on the Hull to Scarborough line.

The Yorkshire coast is known worldwide to geologists for its superb Jurassic rocks, which were formed by, and are still undergoing, immensely powerful processes.  I wanted to draw attention to the remarkable visual richness of this “Jurassic Coast”, as well as to exhibit art in a public space.  The exhibition explored the visual language of paint and ink in relation to the structural language of the rock.

Between about 1900 and 1950, British railway companies made great use of the poster as a marketing tool.  Well-known artists were commissioned to produce paintings, many of which were strikingly innovative.  These posters captured the public’s imagination and are an important part of Britain’s visual heritage.  "A Return to the Coast" had particular resonance here in the north-east of England, where both the railway and the railway poster were pioneered.

The project was supported by First Transpennine Express, Fisk Printers, Hull Truck Theatre and Northern Rail, and by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Thanks to all those for their generosity. Thanks also to those who left comments at the exhibitions, or contacted me about the project, or about collecting the free postcards at the stations and tourist information centres.

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  1. melody avatar
    melody Jun 12, 2011

    Just returned from a holiday on the Yorkshire coast and we went to visit Beverley Cathedral.  Really loved the exhibition - excellent!  An unexpected pleasure.

  2. Pat W avatar
    Pat W Aug 7, 2011

    Have just managed to miss the exhibition at Hull Truck regretably.The posters at Beverley station were intriguing and beautiful.

  3. Johthn Wordsworth avatar
    Johthn Wordsworth Aug 17, 2011

    I saw the exhibition at the minster, and continue to enjoy the posters on the stations, especially at Beverley where they can be read with the original North Eastern railway tile map. It was also informative from a geological angle, as I had not realised how many different types of rock were exposed along the coastline.