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’
‘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 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…’
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 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 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…’
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
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…
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
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’
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?’
‘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
‘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!
All photographs copyright bibleofbritishtaste. Excerpts may be used as long as clear links are supplied back to the original authors and content.
Everyone should live like Mark Hearld. I know I do, albeit in reduction. I’m working on that.
Oh my word what a fabulous collection. I do have a favourite , the rather sturdy chestnut pony behind the tiger chair.
I love his illustrations and pictures v much.
This home is a visual feast. What a joy it must be to live surrounded by all that sumptuous art. Thanks so much for sharing this!
Wow what an amazing and cherished collection. Thankyou for letting us in!
This is so inspiring and the art everywhere is lovely. Reminds me so much of my grandmother’s house in Melksham, the writer and artist Diana Ross ( nee Denney). She also had 1930’s plastic swans and a magical home awash with jumble sale treasures and wonderful art. Including so many DIY pottery hens . Love this, feels like home.
OH what a joy! just a wonderful antidote to the many who tell is ‘ get rid of it’
Absolutely fabulous, what a collection I to live like this on a smaller scale my home isn’t that big, I have looked at this article and collection 3 times today.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this. It has been a complete joy to look through these amazing images, it felt like actually being there and looking over your shoulder. What a collection/s what a marvellous artist! So inspiring!
Lovely stuff, lovely dog. Where do you sit?
vraiment cette maison est incroyable dans chaque piece fusent des idees plus originales les unes que les autres vous etes un vrai artiste
Long ago a girlfriend gave me a Mark Hearld card bird mobile for Christmas, it still comes out every year to stretch its wings under the lights – it’ll soon be out again.
So many artists names here I recognise but I never consciously set out to follow them, they just became part of my landscape. I even had a Patterdale terrier!
Thank you for posting, much enjoyed seeing all the pieces of inspiration..