Printmaker Norman Ackroyd unveils a new collection of etchings at the Zillah Bell Gallery

Royal Academician premiers new work at a North Yorkshire gallery

World-renowned printmaker Norman Ackroyd, a Leeds butcher’s son, has unveiled a new collection of etchings at the Zillah Bell Gallery in Thirsk.

The exhibition, Norman Ackroyd & Friends, marks the first public viewing of Shetland, a new edition of 12 etchings by Ackroyd, whose prints are collected by the Tate, Ashmolean and many other major institutions worldwide.

Artworks in the show include etchings by fellow Royal academician and world-renowned architect Ian Ritchie, paintings by Ackroyd’s son Simeon and photographs by Jocelyne van den Bossche.

Ackroyd has won global acclaim for his atmospheric monochrome etchings of the British landscape. His new prints, inspired by the breathtaking coast and islands of the Shetland Archipelago, resonate with the ominous power of the water and weather.

‘Shetland is the final statement of a three-year project attempting to understand that ultimate fringe of the British Isles made up of a necklace of rocks and skerries that stretch north-east from St Kilda for 400 miles via Flannan, Sula, North Rona, Foula and Papa Stour to the Rumblings, Muckle Flugga and finally to Out Stack,’ the artist explained.

John Bell, owner of the Zillah Bell Gallery, has developed a close relationship with Ackroyd, who was awarded a CBE for services to engraving in 2007. This friendship is behind the artist’s decision to launch his new etchings at a rural North Yorkshire gallery.

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Ian Ritchie, creator of Dublin’s Spire in O’Connell Street, has also agreed to show a series of exquisite, delicate etchings exploring the interplay between words and images. ‘It’s a major achievement for the Zillah Bell gallery to be able to show work by these two renowned Royal Academicians, both world famous in their respective fields,’ said John Bell.‘Ritchie’s etchings contain simplified forms with spiritual echoes revealing his underlying practice as an architect, whilst Ackroyd’s painterly aquatints have a remarkable freedom, inspired the wild Scottish landscape.’

The exhibition also features Christmas Lights, a series of quirky art lamps by artist George Trapp using recycled materials.

Norman Ackroyd & Friends runs until January 20th. For details, visit or call 01845 522 479.