Anthony Ratcliffe’s response to the John Piper watercolour: ‘Weathercote Cave’

I selected a watercolour by John Piper from the collection; a study of Weathercote Cave near Ingleton. The cave is an example of streams disappearing into underground caverns in this limestone area. At the time of starting the project Weathercote Cave was inaccessible so I made drawings of the nearby Fell Beck which falls into the famous Gaping Gill Cavern. I mapped the emergence of the stream on Ingleborough, across the fellside and into the main cavern.

The book is handmade with multicolour woodcut prints in a concertina format that is contained in an etched glass fronted case.

John Piper made many illustrations of his tours of British landscape, some of which were published in the Shell tourist guides, which he edited in conjunction with John Betjeman.

My choice of using a book format for this project referenced the idea of mapping geographical features in a guide format. The book has a list of map names over which the stream crosses on its descent.

The cavern details were made from photographs of potholing expeditions. I did intend to make the descent into the cave which can be done by the public twice a year but the recent pandemic restrictions made this impossible. However, I have been invited to visit Weathercote Cave by the landowner.