Mark Hearld is the busy, polygamous artist and maker whom I’ve long wanted to meet. He has made multiple marriages, to print-making and collage, drawing and painting, lino-cutting, ceramics, wallpaper and textile design, cut-outs and collecting, clothing, curating and rampant curiosity.

Years ago my friend Anthony Geraghty – who teaches the History of Art at York University  – said, ‘ Ruth, there’s this person you must meet. We got drunk one evening and we went back to his house. It’s amazing!’  My pal Matilda Moreton gave me his book, The Lumber Room, Unimagined Treasures, made for the installations he’d curated at York Art Gallery from 2015-17. Then we had a brief encounter at The House of Illustration. At last, a few months ago, I made the haj to York to see him.

Mark studied illustration in Glasgow, then Natural History Illustration at the Royal College of Art. He ‘gets’ all the mid C20th greats – Peggy Angus,  John Piper and Edward Bawden and Barbara Jones, E.Q. Nicholson and Sheila Robinson – but he is deeply fond of the older stuff too, Mochaware and pub signs, architectural engravings, folk art, decoy ducks and plastic Swan bath-toys. These he collects semi-obsessively, just as he buys and swops his own work for the modern pieces by the ceramicists and artists he reveres. His old house in York is a chaotic, wonderful, eclectic, dynamic repository of all this and more. Now read on…

The garden room – ‘this is an extension to the original house – it also feels a bit like a workshop. The dish is by Sophie Wilson @1690works who was on my foundation course with me’

‘There’s a fantastic madder weave by Sue Marshall and some cardboard decoy Canada Geese with photographic wing plumage,’

‘A jolly stripey bag that contained an Easter egg but I can’t throw away because I like it’

‘And a plate rack that has stayed almost the same from my first flat in Portland Street, with very inexpensive lustre-ware cups that I found at the car boot sale and the odd English delft plate’

‘A piece of ceramic meat by Nathalie lete for Astier de la Villatte. A card by Chloe Cheese and a French pate dish  – a tureen that I found the one and only time I’ve been into TK Max!’

‘My tiles made in collaboration with Terry Shone in his harbour pottery in Whitby, and an ancient corn dolly inherited from my dead friend John Hutchinson – a corn chandelier? The large cast iron Cockerel I found in a junk shop –  probably from a pub, it’s early twentieth century, it was painted red once.’

‘A cat rag rug by Louisa Creed A Swan by Alex Malcolmson who I’m showing with at the Yew Tree Gallery in West Cornwall – part decoy, part boat, part fairground curiosity. He used to run a craft gallery in the Westminster Arcade in Harrogate in the 1990s, I commissioned him to make this for my exhibition The Magpie Eye at Scarborough Art Gallery’

‘A fake Picasso cardboard mask, made as a present for my friend John Hutchinson when I was an art student…’

‘My collection of Streptocarpus. I call this the tea kitchen, the Mochaware cups are by Terry Shone.’

‘The drawing is by Nellie Prior who is married to Julian Trevelyn’s son. It’s the first piece of flat art I bought as a grown up, I love it – it’s Modernist!’

‘That’s a nineteenth century extension – there were stud divisions and a false ceiling it in. Those are tiles that I made in Stoke on Trent, they’re gestures with cobalt stain, entirely abstract’

‘I picked up that pate sign in Gras and bought it over’


the Stone Room

Brillo, poodle-lurcher-cross puppy

‘It’s called the Stone Toom because it has because it has a flagged floor, it dates from 1807’

‘One of my horses with a broken tail embellished as a circus horse, with a string tail and a feather plume’

‘The birds are rag rugs by Louisa Creed who is the daughter of E. Q. Nicholson. She’s a friend of mine and she lives in York’

‘The Settle was given to me by a friend – it belonged to Olive Cook – she thought that this house would be the right place for it to land’

‘That was in Malton Shambles, and it’s probably my favourite ever find.’

‘It was about £300 – a piebald hare – I thought I’ve just got to have it!’

‘A large tiger that I found in Hackney. The Rabbit is by Lewis Creed, Louisa Creeds’ husband  – who’s just died aged 91’

Copy of a ceramic owl in the collection of the Victoria and Albert museum, given to him by Emily Sutton – as a ‘breakup’ present!

‘That is by Paul Young, hes a good friend of mine t – there are lots of his things on the dresser, he’s given me a lot. The Owl tile is by me, left over fro a tile panel…’

‘Xmas cards made by Tilley Printing in Ledbury that I send to friends’

‘Many plates and patters by Dylan Bowen and Clive Bowen, the Greyhound plate is by Terry Shone, the bear is by Geoffrey Fuller. That crazy leaping dog – that’s by R.J. Lloyd who illustrated Ted Hughes’s poems, but also put together the new ceramics gallery showcasing slipware from North Devon in Bideford. The Hares etc are by Geoffrey Fuller and that is a goat by Hylton Nel’

The housekeeper’s cupboard and the hall beyond

Next door, the Front Room – ‘This room can look really elegant but actually its looking like a depository…  I can spruce this to make it look a bit more…?’ The lampshade designed with  plumed horses is by Christopher Brown Lino

The room is painted Invisible Green and the fireplace is Yellow Pink by Little Greene Paint Company

‘The corn dollies were made by a women in Aberdeen for my 2009 Magpie Eye exhibition. The Stick chair was made by a maker – an old boy near Thirsk. He had a whole stable full of yew and holly branches for the spindles’

‘The chair by Vico Magistretti, I swopped 6 of them for one of my collages….’

‘The joinery was made by my now next door by four neighbour Marcus Jacka. Who is Non Standard Studio (Furniture). I gave him free reign to make something a bit theatrical,  a cabinet. That small carving mounted on a panel was in John Hutchinson’s collection, he wrote the Pevsner architectural guide to East Yorkshire – it was always thought to be by Grinling Gibbons. He also wrote the Bartholomew Guide to York – he was meant to be doing the Shell Guide but it never happened.There’s a rare maquette bust of John Ruskin from John’s collection, I will give that to Brantwood House. These stiff leaf capitals are from him but I don’t know their origins… I bought the Owl from Anne Stokes’

‘Lurking behind all those Maltbys is a piece of Peggy Angus wallpaper that hung on the walls of Furlongs, when the house was cleared they took the wallpaper off. That’s a fantastic terracotta goose I found in Portobello – and a diorama of an Edwardian house’

‘That’s an E.Q. Nicholson collage…’

 found in Town House Spitalfields for 300 quid, it has the same red triangle as one in Pallant House Gallery’

‘That rare print of York Minster (just seen) was John Hutchinson’s. The glass sign was by the Brilliant Sign Company.’

A giant Christmas Robin I found at Portobello. I almost missed my train back to York and the guard said , ‘You’re alright but your bird’ll have to go in that goods van there.’ Christmas good fun!

Master and hound

‘John Hutchinson my friend and mentor was an architect who worked for the ecclesiastical artist and architect George Pace – a sort of historical modernist. His speciality was lettering – these were done for Newcastle Cathedral. But then they changed all the service times…’


‘Hermann von Puckler Muscow was doing a grand tour of Britain, he visited this house in the 1820s and documented his visit in a book. There’s a skeleton in the cellar in a Roman stone sarcophagus buried in a Roman vault – this house was built around it. Emily Sutton painted this signwriting and we scraped off the woodchip wallpaper and found this ashlaring in the Soaneian manner underneath  – we know that it was put up in 1881 because the signature on the wallpaper says so?’

A bargee’s teapot

‘These are by my absolute favourite, Geoffrey Fuller again, and he’s not potting any more – A flat backed figure group  – that and the gray horse and hare’

Tate and Lyle golden syrup tins, hoarded

Little Red Riding Hood Staffordshire flatback at back of shelf


an embroidered Magpie by Emily Sutton

Little Anne Stokes cup

‘An eccentric construction inspired by York Cemetery I bought it off someone who’d moved to a modern house’

‘Lavatory washbasin – someone was getting rid of it, modernising their house…’

‘The Rowlestone Tympanum, c.1965, John Piper, the first chromolithograph produced of his work – Also found in York car boot’

up the stairs…

the old wallpaper was scraped off – ‘I left the stairs as I found them’

An education lithograph from a fleamarket in Munster in Germany

Jonny Hannah at the top of the stairs…

first landing

The White bathroom – a stained glass window bought from a York salvage depot made into screen division

Plastic bath toys  – swans –

‘I do like faded plastic ,early plastic from the 30s – there were four swans and one fell off and my Patterdale terrier chomped it up’

boilersuit bought from NY fleamarket


The Upstairs sitting room

Brillo on the Tiger Tiger armchair

Richard Bawden wallpaper scrap

Twigs from last year’s Xmas tree over the fireplace

Shelves full of ceramics by Anne Stokes, Richard and Susan Parkinson. And more Geoffrey Fuller

Large tree by Anne Stokes;


‘Lovely curtains bought in an Oxfam charity shop, designed by Jenny Foley in the 1970s for Heals’

‘The painting over the chimney is by David Fowkes, who taught at Aberdeen art school, its a village on Aberdeenshire coast…’

‘An album made by my friend the bookbinder Chris Shaw – an archive of papers by J. and K. Jacobs…’

‘who specialise in making decorative papers …’

– for bookbinding’

… using block printed paste paper. He bound them as a gift and a repository’

‘This is my own album’

‘- Mark Hearld’s SCRAPBOOK !’

‘I’m going to make into a book…’

‘Cushions made for me by Tinsmiths out of an old bed quilt’


‘Poster I made for the Curwen Press when they had a display in Tate Britain’

Milk Marketing Board – design for a poster by Barbara Jones, from her studio sale in Marlborough

Jonny Hannah’s esoteric references ? ‘- but I don’t quite get them?’

‘My bedroom!’

‘John Piper’s Sunflower that belonged to Frances Spalding’

Paula Rego print and a textile fragment by John Piper

John Piper x 2


‘Made by my friend Alex Malcolmson as a birthday card for me’

across the landing…

the top floor bathroom

three plates by Philip Eglin

‘These tiles are from a collaboration between Charlotte Mellis and her little sister Anne Stokes’

‘The Flat Fish is by Max Tannerhill. The Anchor was bought from the Paul Smith shop I just loved it so much! I had to have it. It was relatively expensive but most things I’ve got here were a bargain so it all evens out – It’s such a good object. When I did my exhibition there was a gilded Hippocanthus, so I commissioned a sign saying ‘Seahorse’ that alludes to a pub called The Seahorse – It’s dazzle gilded’

‘A box for print type that I made for John Hutchinson – I filled it for him He arranged it very fastidiously ‘

medieval fragment of stained glass, by the York School of glass stainers

‘The Seal is by Mick Manning, my tutor at Glasgow School of Art. And that’s the original block for a Cecil Aldin Edwardian nursery frieze – which is represented in Antony Welles Coles’s historic wallpaper collection at Temple Newsam House in Leeds.’

‘I found it in a salvage firm’


Mark Hearld’s new book out later this year is Raucous Invention: The Joy of Making, published by St Jude’s –  you can pre-order copies here!

Very many thanks to Mark Hearld!

@mark _hearld

All photographs copyright bibleofbritishtaste. Excerpts may be used as long as clear links are supplied back to the original authors and content.