Original media: Painted in inks, gouache, acrylic, watercolour, gold leaf and gold thread.
Measures 47.5cm x 81.5cm (mounted)
Painted in 2020 for the ‘Toffee Town’ exhibition at The Yorkshire Gallery in Halifax’s Piece Hall. The amazing Wainhouse Tower is a landmark for so many people. I’ve never been up it and I’m not sure I want to . I like the view from the ground! The tower itself can be seen as a symbol of a feud between two wealthy Halifax men: John Edward Wainhouse and Sir Henry Edwards. Local legend has it that the latter complained about the smoke pollution caused by the dye works owned by Wainhouse. In response, Wainhouse commissioned the architect Isaac Booth to build a 350 metre chimney, the design of which incorporated a spiral staircase wrapping around the inner chimney. Sir Henry had boasted that his grand estate at Pye Nest could not be overlooked by any other house in Halifax, so Wainhouse decided to add a viewing platform at the very top to spite him. Isaac Booth was also Sir Edwards’ architect and the feud between Wainhouse and Edwards became so bitter that he resigned the project, refusing to work for either of them. The top of the tower was completed by Richard Swarbrick Dugdale. The tower was begun in 1871, and completed in 1875. However Wainhouse sold the dye works in 1874 and the new owner didn’t want the incomplete tower, which he considered a liability, included in the sale. Because of this the Wainhouse Tower was never used as a working mill chimney. The new owner of the dye works, Mr Henry Mossman, was prosecuted later under the new ‘Smoke Abatement Act’. In response, he pulled down the dye works’ 6 small chimneys, and replaced them with one large one. The Wainhouse tower has been owned by The Halifax Corporation since 1919. It was used as military observation post during the World War Two. This view is from the corner of Master Lane, and shows Wakefield Gate winding up through the trees. The tiles are filled with details from the octagonal tower, and from Wainhouse’s former home ‘West Air’ (now the Wainhouse Tavern). This piece is on display at The Yorkshire Gallery from September 26th 2020. Prints are available from The Yorkshire Gallery and Heart Gallery from that date. They will be available online from October 27th.