JMW Turner: Archbishop helps artist enter art digital age

An Archbishop has swapped sermons for podcasts this Christmas after helping to guide visitors to Yorkshire through the footsteps of artist JMW Turner.

Along with festive carols, the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu, right, will be singing the praises of York Minster in a digital podcast about Turner's experience of Yorkshire.

The Archbishop is one of four Yorkshire ambassadors to join Turner expert Professor David Hill, of the University of Leeds, in exploring places painted and sketched by Turner during his many visits to the county.

Another podcast features David Lascelles, of Harewood House, who stars in The Beginning –-Why did Turner come to Yorkshire?

Artist Ashley Jackson appears on Turner's Coastal Yorkshire, while Ken Hawley MBE, of the Hawley Collection Trust in Sheffield, features in Turner's Industrial Yorkshire.

All four episodes are now ready to download, along with pre-existing maps and guides spotlighting famous views discovered by Turner nearly 200 years ago.

Tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire is behind the Turner Trails, which have generated more than 28,500 hits since they were launched online in June.

Demand has also been high for the 'Discover Turner's Yorkshire' booklet after 20,000 copies were snapped up by potential tourists.

Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: "Thanks to the help of Yorkshire ambassadors, the Turner Trails have now gone digital, further widening their appeal.

"The new podcasts are not only interesting and educational but the maps and tours are also a fun free way to spend a day out in Yorkshire over the Christmas holidays and enjoy the legacy that Turner left behind."

The Turner Trails allow visitors to follow in JMW Turner's footsteps as he painted and sketched more than 800 views across 70-plus sites in Yorkshire.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, said: "Turner produced wonderful sketches of York Minster on the several occasions he visited York and I was delighted to be asked to record a podcast about York Minster for the Turner Trails.

"Turner was so inspired by Yorkshire's contrasting landscape – and so am I."

The audio tours and maps include six walks in the Wensleydale area, with trails including some of the region's most famous sites such as Fountains Abbey and Rotherham Minster.