Louisa Waterford Prize 2024

The Winner

Richard O'Connor

"St Cuthbert's Way to Wooler"

Plein-air artist Richard O'Connor is the winner of the 2024 Louisa Waterford Prize. He was also awarded the People's Choice prize after winning the visitors' votes. Richard, a self-taught artist is originally from Consett in County Durham and now lives in the Scottish Borders. His inspiration for this winning piece "St Cuthbert's Way to Wooler" was inspired by summer family walks along this beautiful, well-trodden path not far from his home.

Richard's painting will now be exhibited at Hastings First Gallery's Summer Exhibition (which begins on May 15) in Coldstream (formerly the White Fox Gallery) and shown at Lady Waterford Hall later this year as part of the Prize.
The 4 judges faced a tough decision due to the amazing level of work from our 22 finalists, but Richard's piece won their hearts.

Despite the bad weather, we had a very busy weekend, with hundreds of visitors over the three days. Huge thanks to them, to all the artists and also to the judges.. The judges also had a long list of commendations but narrowed them down to three for special mention: They were Tom Paterson for "Reflections in the Flood"; Pamela Ormston for "Coffee and Carrier Bags" and Sarah Morpeth for "In the Hedgerow".

Pamela Ormston

Coffee and Carrier Bags (commended)

Sarah Morpeth

In the Hedgerow (commended)

Tom Paterson

Reflection in the Floods (commended)

Louisa Waterford Prize 2024

Etal Village Hall

Ford and Etal

Northumberland

Saturday May 4 - Monday May 6

The Louisa Waterford Prize, launched by The Tin Shed in 2022, celebrates the strengths of artists, makers and designers today and pays tribute to the legacy of Louisa Beresford (nee Stuart), Marchioness of Waterford. Often described as a woman ahead of her time, she was an accomplished artist and philanthropist.

Part of Louisa's philanthropic work included encouraging artists, designers and makers to use their skills to make a living. It's an ethos we share at The Tin Shed in supporting all our artists and makers.  The Louisa Waterford Prize was founded in 2022 to not only celebrate her legacy, but to help showcase and promote the work of local creatives.

The old school at Ford, now Lady Waterford Hall Museum which houses her watercolour paintings and life-size murals, has attracted visitors from across the world. One of its earliest tourists in the early 1900's described it as "a perfect paradise" - the theme of the 2024 Prize.

The exhibition at Etal Village Hall showcased the work of 20 finalists selected from a huge number of submissions. The event included art workshops and demonstrations. Ford and Etal's resident artists and makers also held their own exhibitions and workshops at their studios over the weekend. There was also a special talk about Louisa at Lady Waterford Hall by historian and author Caroline Ings-Cambers. 

Meet the Judges 2024

Harriet Joicey

Lady Joicey, chair of the Lady Waterford Hall Trust, hails from Scotland but has lived at Etal in Northumberland for almost thirty years.

She has been heavily involved with the local community, running Ford and Etal estates with her husband and their 4 children.

Harriet also supports various charities and the arts. 

During 2019 and 2020 she was High Sheriff of Northumberland.

Helen Hastings BA Hons

Helen studied ceramics at Edinburgh College of Art, before becoming Artist in Residence at Gracefield Art Centre in Dumfries. She worked as a picture framer then learned how to build and maintain websites. When her husband Ron set up Hastings Legal, she built the company website. They now have offices in several Borders towns and opened the office in Coldstream in 2023 in what had previously been an art gallery. Part of the gallery has been retained to exhibit artists work and promote The Borders as a creative place to live. 

Caroline Ings-Chambers PhD

Caroline is an independent scholar, speaker, and writer in the field of Victorian Studies with specialist academic interests in John Ruskin, the Nineteenth Century Novel, and the role of Women in nineteenth century society, culture and the arts. Caroline is the author of 'Louisa Waterford and John Ruskin "for you have not falsely praised"' (Legenda, 2015). She is a lecturer at Morley College in London, where she creates and delivers original courses in nineteenth century British literature and culture.

 Peter Fagan - Sculptor

Peter is a multi-disciplinary artist, based at the historic village of Ford, Berwick Upon Tweed. He studied at Colchester School of Art with a focus on Sculpture, becoming studio assistant to Geoffrey Clarke RCA working on sculptures for Coventry Cathedral.

Peter later worked on own commissions for public and private buildings and taught pottery and general art subjects at Braintree College, in Colchester. He also worked as exhibition designer for the Marconi Company.


Louisa Waterford - Artist, Philanthropist, Free Spirit

Talk by Historian/Author Caroline Ings-Chambers

Lady Waterford Hall

As part of the 2024 Prize event, historian and author Caroline Ings-Chambers PhD gave a talk about Louisa at Lady Waterford Hall.

Caroline, who was also one of the event's judges, is an independent scholar, speaker and writer in the field of Victorian Studies with specialist academic interests in John Ruskin, the Nineteenth Century Novel, and the role of Women in nineteenth century society, culture and the arts. 

She is also author of 'Louisa Waterford and John Ruskin "for you have not falsely praised"' (Legenda, 2015) and is a lecturer at Morley College in London, where she creates and delivers original courses in nineteenth century British literature and culture.

About Louisa

Born Lady Louisa Stuart, she became Marchioness of Waterford after marrying Henry Beresford, Lord Waterford (his mother was a Delaval).

She moved from his family seat in Ireland to Ford Castle in Northumberland following his death in the mid-1800's. 

Already an accomplished amateur artist Louisa was well-known in London's elite artistic circles. She was tutored by art critic and author John Ruskin and they became good friends for about 40 years until her death.

‚ÄčLouisa is also known for her philanthropic work. She and her husband built hundreds of new houses and a school for the estate workers in Ireland, as well as setting up sustainable craft industries to provide employment. 

Although still grieving when she arrived at Ford, in Northumberland, she re-designed and improved living conditions on the estate and built a new school. That building is now Lady Waterford Hall. She also improved living conditions for the mining communities near her husband's family home at Seaton Delaval in Northumberland and was instrumental in setting up a women's mission and fundraising following a pit disaster that killed over two hundred men and boys.

Today Ford's well-preserved buildings and the biblical scenes she spent 22 years painting stand as her legacy.

Although Louisa and her work isn't as well-known as her male counterparts, the murals remain unparalleled by any other woman artist of Louisa’s generation across Europe.

Horseshoe doorway of the old forge at Ford


Open Call to Artists and Makers

If you're an artist or maker and would like to find out more about joining The Tin Shed, please email info@thetinshed.co.uk 

Please include bit about yourself and send a couple of images of your work or a link to it.