Shepherdess – One Woman Farm

22 May to 08 September 2019

This exhibition displayed a tough and tender portrait of a ‘true-to-life’, born and bred shepherdess, Alison O’Neill. In a special corner of the Yorkshire Dales, there is deep gratitude and spiritual fulfillment to be found in the essential work of a Shepherdess.

“Shepherdess – one woman farm” exhibited the work of photographer Ian Lawson, who spent eight years documenting the shepherdess’ life. With heartfelt photographs and personal words, this exhibition portrayed the growing intimacy between a woman, her flock and her love affair with life on a small hill farm, and the intractable realities of this traditional existence.

Alison O’Neill – The Shepherdess by Ian Lawson

The beautiful pictures show the shepherdess practising high nature value farming in one of the country’s most stunning landscapes, at Shacklabank near the Howgill Fells and Sedbergh.

Alison is not only a third-generation tenant hill farmer but a wool fashion designer as well. The exhibition displayed ladies clothing designed by Alison made from wool from her sheep fleeces. The garments which are made entirely from the thick, cream-coloured wool clipped from her flock of 150 Rough Fell sheep.

Visit the shepherdess website :

Photographer Ian Lawson has also produced a book Shepherdess – One Woman Farm here.