In April 2012, Mike Collier and Brian Thompson delivered a paper at the international conference ‘Words on the Page’ held at the Wordsworth Trust, Dove Cottage. Wordsworth was an inveterate walker (as was his sister, Dorothy) who, reckoned Thomas De Quincey, “must have traversed a distance of 175,000 to 180,000 English miles – a mode of exertion which, to him, stood in the stead of alcohol and all other stimulants whatsoever to the animal spirits; to which, indeed, he was indebted for a life of unclouded happiness, and we for much of what is most excellent in his writings.” The paper delivered by Collier and Thompson looked at the relationship between the Wordsworths and the making of art (visual and literary).

This led to a discussion with the Curator at Dove Cottage, Jeff Cowton, who suggested an exhibition based around the ideas they had outlined in their paper. Further discussions with renowned scholar of Romanticism, John Strachan, of Bath Spa University,  resulted in the exhibition, Their Colours and their Forms.

Their Colours and their Forms  was exhibition of new work by artists, composers and creative writers responding imaginatively to Wordsworth’s life and poetry and the manuscripts of William and Dorothy Wordsworth displayed in the Museum. It featured fine art by Tim Brennan, Manny Ling, Brian Thompson and myself, poets David Harsent, John Strachan and Tony Williams, and sound recordist and musicians Robert Strachan and Sam Wiehl .

The exhibition was brought together by the curators (Collier, Thompson and Strachan) with the support and assistance of Jeff Cowton and his colleagues at the Wordsworth Trust and in collaboration with the School of Humanities and Creative Industries at Bath Spa University and W.A.L.K. The curators were grateful for the financial sponsorship of the universities of Bath Spa, Northumbria and Sunderland.

A catalogue of Their Colours and their Forms by Carol McKay and John Strachan has been published by Art Editions North and the Wordsworth Trust and is available at £9.95. Please click here to purchase the catalogue.