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Meet Peter Hicks

Peter Hicks (c) VisitBritain VisitEnglandPeter Hicks (c) VisitBritain VisitEngland

According to Jenny Perry, Author and Art Historian:

In Yorkshire, the name of Peter Hicks is almost synonymous with paintings of the North York Moors. His sweeping landscapes of the moors in all seasons and weathers describe and explore the fall of light and cloud-shadow over immense rolling distances.

Peter Hicks in his studio (c) VisitBritain VisitEngland

Peter Hicks works from his studio in Danby in the beautiful Esk Valley, one of the most stunning landscapes in England.

In this film, Peter tells us how his work is directly influenced by this special landscape and how, through a blend of colour, figuration and abstraction, he encapsulates the feeling, drama and atmosphere of the North York Moors.

Let the North York Moors inspire you…

Following Peter’s film, we want to share some ideas for exploring the wonderful North York Moors. You’ll find more ideas across our Meet the Makers series.

Discover Peter’s favourite places

We asked Peter to tell us where he most loves to visit for inspiration:

The woodland area very near to Grosmont in the Esk Valley. There are three connected woods, one leading to the next, The Doctor's Wood close to Grosmont, leading to the Cragg Cliff Woods then on to Arncliffe Woods, an extensive woodland leading over to Glaisdale via Egton Bridge. I have known these woods from childhood and from that time have formed a major source of inspiration.”

Peter Hicks (c) VisitBritain VisitEngland

Peter knows the local landscape and all of its hidden gems ‘like the back of his hand’. Happy to share his insider tips for visitors to the North York Moors, he recommended his favourite refreshment stops:

My favourite eating places are ‘Sandside Café’ by the sea at Sandsend, which has a national reputation, and is owned by a good friend, Neil. Also, the countryside inn ‘The Ellerby’ in the village of that name, again owned by good friends Mark and Georgie.

Explore the inspiring landscape around Peter’s studio on foot...

Strike out on foot to explore the stunning Esk Valley, home to Peter’s studio in Danby. The waymarked 37-mile (60km) Esk Valley Walk follows the River Esk from its source high on the North York Moors to the coast at Whitby. The route unveils many of the finest characteristic landscapes of the North York Moors, from spreading heather moorland, narrow wooded gorges, to the dramatic coastline.

Danby Beacon Credit Russell Burton

For shorter strolls, a booklet of five circular walks is available from The Moors National Park Centre. The one mile walk to Danby Beacon is highly recommended for a spectacular 360-degree panoramic view of moor, dale and sea.

….or by steam-power

Enjoy sweeping views of majestic moorland from the window of a fabulously restored carriage behind a vintage steam or diesel engine – surely one of the most unique ways to enjoy the English landscape!

NYMR steam train at Grosmont Credit Ebor Image

The atmospheric North Yorkshire Moors Railway is an iconic heritage steam railway running along twenty-four miles of track from the ancient market town of Pickering to the coastal town of Whitby. Stops along the way include Goathland station, which featured as Hogsmeade Station in the original Harry Potter film, where visitors can explore the delightfully restored station platform with its tearoom housed within a 1922 styled goods shed. The 1952 themed Grosmont station is another popular stop and houses stunning restoration work carried out by railway volunteers within the historic engine sheds.

The year-round views from the carriages as the train makes its way along the line are spectacular, but particularly delightful when the moorland and woodland are ablaze with the rich hues of autumn.

Allow the landscape to inspire your creative side

For aspiring painters, Peter recommends the courses at the Lund Studios in nearby Easingwold, whilst Cober Hill in Cloughton offer residential courses on painting and photography. The range of arts and crafts courses at the Inspired by... gallery are also worth exploring.

Staithes Art Workshop Credit Ceri OakesNYMNPA

Alternatively, enrol on the short painting course offered by the famed, Staithes Art School, once home to the British impressionists, to learn the impressionist’s celebrated ‘plein air’ technique. HF Holidays also offer landscape painting holidays, helping students to capture the famed Northern Light as it bathes and tinges the landscape.

Where to enjoy Peter’s work in the North York Moors

Inspired by... gallery, The Moors National Park Centre, Danby

Peter’s work is often on show at the Inspired by... gallery, which hosts changing exhibitions of work by local artists and makers who draw their inspiration from the North York Moors.

Paintings by Peter Hicks (c) VisitBritain VisitEngland

In 2021, Peter showcased his latest work, alongside his daughter Beverley, in the much-anticipated Reflections on Landscape exhibition. Both artists paid homage to their love of the North York Moors through a variety of pieces that explore the boundaries of figuration and abstraction. Speaking on his latest creations, Peter aimed to create pieces that ‘deepen’ people’s experience, for it is only through such means that he claims the work is ‘worthy of being seen again and again.’ The exhibition opened on 9 October and ran until 8 November 2021.

Find out more about Peter’s work

Peter’s treasure trove of a website houses extensive portfolios of his work and details of forthcoming exhibitions. An online resource has also been created to display Peter’s surviving sketchbooks, beginning in 1983 and continuing all the way to the present day, offering a fascinating insight into his work.