Light and Soul - Early Impressions of The French Landscape

The painters of Light and Soul drew inspiration from ancient forests and valleys, contemporary life in the landscape and the shifting light over rivers and seas.  The exhibition brings together 17 exceptional artists including Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes, Camille Corot, Rosa Bonheur and Eugène Boudin.  All were pioneers who experimented with subject matter, style and technique and whose influence shaped the work of generations to follow. 

The exhibition is the culmination of a research project into the French drawings and paintings at the Cooper Gallery, funded by the Headley Fellowship through Art Fund. The project focused on the 19th century landscape artists, including those who worked in the Forest of Fontainebleau and along the coastal areas of Normandy. The research also revealed some of the wonderful examples held in other collections and we are delighted to welcome remarkable paintings on loan from Sheffield Museums, York Museums Trust, Leeds Museums and Galleries, The Bowes Museum and The National Gallery, London, displayed alongside the treasures from the Cooper Gallery collection.

Watch a version of this video with BSL and in French on our YouTube channel and take a look at our interactive tour of the exhibition.

Conservation film

A painting in the process of being conserved

Find out how paintings and drawings are conserved in this fascinating film presentation. Paintings conservator David Everingham discusses the conservation treatment of two artworks in the Light and Soul exhibition.

Watch the conservation film on YouTube 

You can also watch a BSL version of the conservation film

Online activities

watercolour drawing of a farm house

ArtUK Curation/Online exhibition

a screenshot of the virtual exhibition

360° interactive tour

the entrance to the exhibition with paintings to the right and left and in front

Watch videos

A stormy seascape


A field of sheep

Audio descriptions

Fishing boats

Blog from The Bowes Museum


Future Artists Celebrated at the Cooper Gallery

Future Artists Celebrated at the Cooper Gallery

As part of the Cooper Gallery’s latest exhibition, Light and Soul, Early Impressions of the French Landscape, a competition was launched to inspire and encourage young emerging talent.