I’m excited, a film about the life of Clarice Cliff, the Art Deco pottery painter and designer has just come out on film. I’ve also found out some of my friends are extras in the film! I want to find out if I can go and see it at a local screening.
Clarice Cliff is famous for designs such as “bizzare” and other geometric shaped pots painted in colourful and stylish patterns. She was working in the 1930’s at the same time as other paintresses such as Suzy Cooper. Apologies for my lack of information. If you look her up on Wikipedia or perhaps the museum services at Stoke-on-Trent City Council. She is very famous here. X
In about 2006 and 2007 I painted several murals in the Arnold Bennett suite of the Leopard Hotel. It has appeared on Britain’s most Haunted on TV and until a couple of years ago was still open. Now no one seems to know what is happening with it. I’m sure it still needs a lot of work doing on it. No doubt my murals will get painted over if it is refurbished. It’s sad, because for a few years the place thrived. But there was also bad luck there. I wish things coukd be better for it. X
Its aa little thing, but my painting of the Burslem Riot is on the back of a friends book. She’s in the newspaper today and you can clearly see my image on the back of her book. The problem is the article is about the local dialect which she writes about, not about my painting. So I guess I can’t complain. But my images do crop up and I don’t get recognition. I should have put something up where they are on display (in the now closed Leopard Hotel in Burslem), but I didn’t think about it, and then I didn’t organise it, and now it’s all locked up. Thinking if putting a letter through the front door infroducing myself as the artist who painted them. I hope they don’t get ripped out!
Molly Leigh was said to be the Burslem witch. She lived in a small cottage, a photo of which I based this picture on. There are no photos of her so I tried to find a painting of an elderly woman from about that time and chose a picture of a French peasant by Theodore Gericault as an inspiration. The plants in the background are meant to be foxgloves and different herbs in a garden I imagined to be full of things you could use for remedies. I didn’t find much out about her life, except she is meant to be buried in a local church yard with the grave orientated East West, instead of the normal North South way. We went for a walk and ended up in the graveyard, only to get told off by someone from the church who kept getting people messing about round Mollys grave. When we explained we were on a photo walk of Burslem and we didn’t want to do any strange rituals he was OK. The painting is set on a night of the full moon and I tried to make the sky atmospheric and spooky. I’m sorry people won’t be able to see my murals in the Leopard anymore. No doubt they will be painted over or removed.
This the mural I painted at the Leopard of Clarice Cliffs Umbrella design. It is one of several murals I did. They were painted directly onto the walls, but as the original room had several large squares and oblong of flock wallpaper surrounded by wooden framing, the owners stripped the flock paper and covered the patches with lining paper. I then painted on that. For some reason people think the pictures are painted on canvas. They will get a shock if they try and take them down. They would have to remove a layer of plaster probably too…!
This popped up on my Facebook memories today, it’s a mural I painted on lining paper on the wall in the Arnold Bennett suite at the Leopard Hotel, in Burslem, Stoke on Trent. It’s about 13 or 14 years since I painted it. It’s based on the Burslem Riot which happened at the same time as other riots were happening in the country about how people were being treated. I think it was organised by the chartists in 1843 (when they were trying to get the vote if I remember right). The riot act was read to disperse the crowd. A man called Josiah Heapy was shot dead by the troops and is remembered as a victim of oppression by the local elite. The main characters in the ainting were all based on people I knew.
Continuing the point about copyright, this is my painting of the Burslem witch, Molly Leigh.
Our local TV programme, Midlands today used the image of the elderly woman, (I based it on a painting by Theodore Gericault, of an elderly French peasant woman). I emailed them twice to point out it was my mural, but have not had any response back.
Last Friday I was interviewed by the Sentinel newspaper about this and a photo of my Burslem riot painting that the paper had used without crediting me. I don’t know when it’s du to be published, do it might already have come out.
Just been up to Burslem to try and see my paintings in the back room of the Leopard Hotel. Unfortunately they were closed. I think they run ghost hunts late in the evening so I had a look through the photos of murals I painted and spookily found this one.
The story I was told that the back room used to be split into small snug areas with wooden panelling. Apparently a woman was found in the back room. She had been Murdered, her throat was cut. I know no more about it but the mural was meant to depict it. I do remember being in the back room and hearing strange noises, it could have been the beer pumps. I would go into the bar to get away from it. I wasn’t exactly scared but felt a bit nervous.
These are three of my murals in the Leopard Hotel in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent.
The first is a painting of a design by Clarice Cliff called Umbrellas, a painting of a woman who may have been murdered in the back room, and gives rise to the possibility it is haunted, and a portrait of the artist Arthur Berry, together with a painting of his in the background. Arthur was one of my tutors at college.
There are other paintings but I need to take good photos of them. They were painted about 12 years ago.