Project Description

TOFFEE TOWN

An exhibition of new paintings by Kate Lycett celebrating the beautiful buildings of Halifax

akroydon

AKROYDON

Painted in 2020 for ‘Toffee Town’, an exhibition celebrating of the beautiful architecture of Halifax, held here in The Yorkshire Gallery in The Piece Hall, Halifax (originally using inks, gouache, acrylics, coloured pencil, pastel, gold leaf and gold thread).

Akroydon is Halifax’s model village, commissioned by Edward Akroyd in the second half of the 19th Century; designed and built by George Gilbert Scott. Akroyd was a much loved Halifax business man and philanthropist. He set out to create an idealised settlement, in contrast to the appalling living conditions provided for many mill workers at the time. Neo gothic in style, Akroydon balanced green spaces, recreation and public spaces, and a lay-out of decent houses that encouraged the mixing of social classes.

After Kate’s  Lost Houses exhibition in 2016, she was commissioned by Bankfield Museum  to create a painting of the area for permanent display. She designed two. This one of Akroydon, and another that showed Bankfield (the former home of Edward Akroyd) and All Souls Church. Though they chose the latter, Kate was so taken with beautiful Akroydon that she painted it anyway!

ORIGINAL PAINTING £4500   SOLD

LIMITED EDITION PRINT 75 cms x 59 cms £282

BIRDSONG AT SHIBDEN

Painted in 2020 for ‘Toffee Town’ an exhibition of new paintings by Kate Lycett celebrating the beautiful architecture of Halifax, held here in The Yorkshire Gallery in The Piece Hall, Halifax (originally using inks, gouache, acrylics, coloured pencil, pastel, gold leaf and gold thread).

Sometimes, paintings decide for themselves, and this was one of those. Kate was commissioned by Shibden Hall to create a painting of the house for permanent display there. She 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 Kate had the idea of a birds eye view. She began the painting in Autumn 2019, and it began as an autumn scene. But the atmosphere wasn’t right – she couldn’t capture the light and she left it for months, half done. Then one day in March Kate stepped out of her house on what felt like the first proper spring day of 2020. 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 is 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). Kate doesn’t know their symbolism, though she has been told that the figure with the fish under his arm in the devil making off with someone’s soul!

The hidden blackbird in the corner is the one from Kate’s garden that day, singing about spring.

ORIGINAL PAINTING £3900   SOLD

LIMITED EDITION PRINT 58 cms x 58 cms £250

CROSSLEY HEATH

Painted in 2020 for ‘Toffee Town’ an exhibition of new paintings by Kate Lycett celebrating the beautiful architecture of Halifax, held here in The Yorkshire Gallery in The Piece Hall, Halifax (originally using inks, gouache, acrylics, coloured pencil, pastel, gold leaf and gold thread).

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

ORIGINAL PAINTING £4500   SOLD

LIMITED EDITION PRINT 59 cms x 75 cms £282

HALIFAX TOWN HALL

Painted in 2020 for ‘Toffee Town’ an exhibition of new paintings by Kate Lycett celebrating the beautiful architecture of Halifax, held here in The Yorkshire Gallery in The Piece Hall (originally using inks, gouache, acrylics, coloured pencil, pastel, gold leaf and gold thread).

Halifax has the most beautiful Town Hall. It’s a building that Kate loves so she saved this one to paint last for the Toffee Town exhibition. It seems to stand apart, ornate and in warm gold stone. It was designed by Charles Barry who also designed The Houses of Parliament.

ORIGINAL PAINTING £3900   SOLD

LIMITED EDITION PRINT 46.5 cms x 81.5cms £258

North Bridge

NORTH BRIDGE

Painted in 2020 for ‘Toffee Town’ an exhibition of new paintings by Kate Lycett celebrating the beautiful architecture of Halifax, held here in The Yorkshire Gallery in The Piece Hall, Halifax (originally using inks, gouache, acrylics, coloured pencil, pastel, gold leaf and gold thread).

Kate first visited Halifax as a Textile Design student in 1996. Her tutor took the class to The Bankfield Museum, from York. Brought up in rural Suffolk, and a student in York, Kate remembers being staggered by this view of the many layers and stunning industrial architecture. It was like nothing she had seen before.

ORIGINAL PAINTING £4500

LIMITED EDITION PRINT 75 cms x 59 cms £282

Streets in the Sky

STREETS IN THE SKY

Painted in 2020 for ‘Toffee Town’ an exhibition of new paintings by Kate Lycett celebrating the beautiful architecture of Halifax, held here in The Yorkshire Gallery in The Piece Hall, Halifax (originally using inks, gouache, acrylics, coloured pencil, pastel, gold leaf and gold thread).

Kate painted this in Lockdown, when the idea of travelling as far as Halifax from Hebden Bridge seemed somewhat exotic! Kate thinks that’s why this particular painting taken on an Italian look – like a sun drenched Venetian Piazza. Kate has always loved the idea of hidden spaces. As a student she 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.

Kate 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.

ORIGINAL PAINTING £4500

LIMITED EDITION PRINT 59 cms x 75 cms £282

Wainhouse Tower

WAINHOUSE TOWER

Painted in 2020 for ‘Toffee Town’ an exhibition of new paintings by Kate Lycett celebrating the beautiful architecture of Halifax, held here in The Yorkshire Gallery in The Piece Hall, Halifax (originally using inks, gouache, acrylics, coloured pencil, pastel, gold leaf and gold thread).

The amazing Wainhouse Tower is a landmark for so many people. Kate has never actually been up the tower as she prefers 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 the 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’ six 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 a 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).

ORIGINAL PAINTING £3400   SOLD

LIMITED EDITION PRINT 42.5 cms x 81.5 cms £258