Sheila Fell was born in Aspatria, Cumberland, to Jack, a miner, and Anne, a seamstress. After an unhappy period at Carlisle College of Art, which she described as a “dismal disaster”, Sheila Fell moved to London in 1949 to attend St Martin’s School of Art and attended classes given by the painter John Napper. Later, in 1956, some of her works were purchased by the painter L.S.Lowry, who became a close friend and mentor.

This densely worked painting is very different to the sparse, empty landscapes that Lowry painted. The menacing sky which dominates the composition, as well as the densely painted fields and buildings that cower below it exemplify Fell’s own experience of Cumbria as a place that is “very dark, but being dark it is also brilliant”, a landscape that imparts “a peculiar sensation that everything is painted—immobile—timeless...”


  • Title: Cumbrian Landscape
  • Creator: Sheila Fell
  • Date: 1964
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 71.1 x 91.4
  • Copyright: © Estate of Sheila Fell
  • Artist's Dates: 1931-79

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