Toffee Town! A date for your diary…


I’m so pleased to be able to finally announce the dates for my postponed ‘Toffee Town’ Exhibition, taking place at The Yorkshire Gallery in Halifax’s beautiful Piece Hall.

This was originally meant to take place much earlier in the year but somewhat disasterous eye surgery pushed the date into May, and Covid delayed it after that. So…

On Saturday 26th September until Sunday 29th November, The Yorkshire Gallery presents…


A celebration of the beautiful buildings of Halifax.

Unfortunately, because of Covid restrictions, we can’t do the usual lovely preview, with cake and wine and chatting. The doors will open on Saturday 26th and I shall be in the gallery all day for anyone that wants to say hello! The Yorkshire Gallery is going to offer private view appointments for anyone interested in original works, and pieces will be on sale on-line and on the phone as well as in the gallery. This is not the way it was meant to be! But, between us, Paul and I will endeavor to make everyone happy. I’m really proud of this collection of paintings, and I would love people to come and see them… Here are some of them.

NORTH BRIDGE – Original – Framed Size:106 x 87cm (approx)
Hand finished, limited edition prints 75 x 59cm (size includes mount)

I first visited Halifax as a Textile Design student in 1996. Our tutor took us to Bankfield Museum, from York. Brought up in rural Suffolk, and a student in York, I remember being staggered by this view of the many layers and stunning industrial architecture. It was like nothing I’d seen before.

CROSSLEY HEATH – Original – Framed Size:87 x 106 cm (approx)
Hand finished, limited edition prints 59 x 75cm (size includes mount)

Crossley Heath Grammar School in Halifax, the air heavy with an expected thunder storm. My daughter set her heart on going there, mostly because it looked like Hogwarts.

Work in progress on Crossley Heath

There are two paintings in this exhibition where the mood changed dramatically half way through. Originally a fine day, but whilst painting it (this one took months!) I saw Saville Park with a spectaculary bruised sky and decided to emphasise the gothic! Even more Hogwarts now…

BIRDSONG AT SHIBDEN– Original – Framed Size:85 X 85cm (approx)
Hand finished, limited edition prints 58 x 58cm (size includes mount)

Sometimes, paintings decide for themselves, and this was one of those. I was commissioned by Shibden Hall to create a painting of the house for permanent display there. I designed two pieces, and this is the one that they didn’t choose. Standing on the wall in front of the orchard, looking down on the hall I had the idea of a birds eye view. I began the painting in Autumn 2019, and it began as an autumn scene. But the atmosphere wasn’t right – I couldn’t get the light and I left it for months, half done. Then one day in March I stepped out of my house on what felt like the first proper spring day. There was a beautiful clean, blue light, and birdsong, and the first, sappy greens. Back in the studio the painting decided to be spring, and with that came the idea that it should be all about the birds. The crows and the doves are there to represent Ann Lister and Anne Walker – a suggestion made for the Shibden Hall commission. The row along the bottom are all the birds in the stained glass fragments from the window in the main hall (believed originally to have come from local priories after the dissolution of the monasteries). I don’t know their symbolism, though have been told that the figure with the fish under his arm is the devil making off with someone’s soul!

The hidden blackbird in the corner is the one from my garden that day, singing about spring…

STREETS IN THE SKY – Original – Framed Size:87 x 106 cm (approx)
Hand finished, limited edition prints 59 x 75cm (size includes mount)

I painted this in Lockdown, when the idea of travelling as far as Halifax from Hebden Bridge seemed somewhat exotic! I think that’s why it’s taken on an Italian look – like a sun drenched Venetian Piazza. I have always loved the idea of hidden spaces. As a student I worked in a restaurant and behind the kitchens was an abandoned ballroom, complete with a piano that couldn’t be reached because of the rotten floor.

I was told about the Streets in the Sky years ago, and finally managed to visit them in Autumn of 2019. Beside one of the grand wrought iron gateways into Halifax’s beautiful Borough Market, there is an unremarkable door leading to one of two secret streets of houses located above the market building. Built originally for the owners of the market stalls beneath, they are now almost all uninhabited, but there are plans to renovate them and use them again. The view here is largely imagined; higher than the hidden streets, looking down on The Piece Hall, Halifax Minster, the chocolate factory (now Nestle, but before that Rowntree Mackintosh), and arches of the railway, then beyond up to Beacon Hill.

Streets in the Sky – Work in progress

If you would like more information then please either contact Paul at The Yorkshire Gallery or contact me directly.

3 thoughts on “Toffee Town! A date for your diary…

  1. Hi
    I am so sorry that I will now miss the exhibition as I am am in Halifax now and will leave in a week.
    Would we be able to purchase a print of the one of Crossleys on line?
    A. Hi Alison.
    Both The Yorkshire Gallery and Heart Gallery have the prints available from Saturday (26th September). They will be available in my online shop from October 27th. I hope this helps.

  2. fabulous interpretation of places dear to me – can’t wait to see them in real life. Any prices available?

  3. Hi Andrew. Thank you! The full list of pieces, sizes and titles is now available on the ‘original work’ page (which i can’t seem to link to here!).

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