Watch out, there’s a Leopard about. Take a walk in the wild side of Stoke, down a side street, off the main road. Strong colours against a black background. Stars shine out from the painting. I want to find out if this is finished or whether there is more to come. What is it painted in? Will it be permanent or will it flake and fade in a few years. It’s painted directly onto the brick so I imagine it will weather and peel.
Round the back of B’arts are a series of three murals. I think they may be constellations? I know there is a star group called Draco but I’m not sure about the Leopard or the Hare /rabbit? Anyway it’s a random piece of art but I do like it. There are chalked in letters above each animal so I’m guessing it’s not finished yet? Whatever, I love the movement in the animals. Good to see colourful art in the area.
We drove past the Leopard Hotel in Burslem today. Its just hidden behind wooden hoardings and scaffolding. I haven’t been up past it since the fire that destroyed it back in February. We only glanced at it. I couldn’t stop. It’s a hole in the history of Burslem, and a hole in my memory. I managed to find a photo of the Leopard sign. It was also known as the famous Leopard. I’m still trying to find copies of the photos I took of the murals I painted in there. A remote hope.
1765…and now it’s gone. History destroyed after more than 200 years. Potters going in to drink at the end of a hot shift. Gilders taking a pint of beer. Food served, life passing by. Once a hotel famous in the Midlands. Feared because it was haunted, loved because it was haunted. Life came and went. It became dilapidated but was rescued. Then covid struck and it closed. But friendly people wanted to buy it back off the new owners and turn it into a community building. Something that would see it restored. Now it will probably never rise from its ashes. Photo by Stokie Bloke. Will remove if this is not acceptable to him.
When I was painting in the Leopard Hotel I designed a coat of arms for the hotel. The hotels ginger cat lies across the top of a shield with garlands of leaves and berries around it. The shield is split into four sections. From the top left there are crossed knives and forks on a blue ground with a gold chevron. The top right is a portrait of Prince Leopold (not sure where he was from) it was possible that the Leopard could have been named after him. Bottom right are three foaming tankards in gold. And bottom left is a painting of a Leopard. The motto on the banner underneath says ‘The Leopard can change its spots’. The idea behind it was that the pub had just been taken over and the landlords Neil Cox and Neil Crisp wanted to turn it into a friendly place to eat great food and wonderful beer. I think they made a great job of it and for a few years it prospered but the changing face of the town, the empty buildings and then covid finally managed to close it. Sorry for the fuzzy photo.