Salts Mill opened in 1853, 4 miles north of Bradford. Designed by Lockwood and Mawson, it ‘gleamed in glass and golden sandstone’ and was the brainchild of Titus Salt, a manufacturer, politician and philanthropist who had made his fortune in textiles. Salt believed it was his social duty to improve the lives of his workers, for whom he built Saltaire, a beautiful village that surrounds the mill.
25 years ago, Salts Mill had fallen into a sad state of neglect and disrepair, only to be rescued by Jonathan Silver, a dynamic young entrepreneur. We have Silver to thank for not only saving this spectacular building – built in the glorious Italianate style – but also for creating the 1853 Gallery which displays the world’s largest permanent collection of work by Bradford-born artist, David Hockney.
These are several examples of Hockney’s iPhone and iPad art on display, including projections, which have not been seen anywhere else in Britain. These delightful, jewel-coloured images are shown as large, changing projections of flowers, friends, family, dogs, California and Bridlington. The projections are updated whenever David emails a new image; described as ‘having a hotline to the sketch pad of the world’s greatest living artist’. Recent portraits of family and friends are also included. These have been drawn – not in the traditional pen-and-paper way – but on his computer, using Photoshop and a graphics tablet. (Why does he always make it look so damn easy?!).
There’s also three magnificent 27 foot long pictures of Bessingby Road, Bridlington at different times of the year. The trio of pictures, strikingly show the transformative power of seasonal change, and are being exhibited for the first time at Salts Mill. They force you to stop and look. Really look.
Even if you’re not a Hockney fan, there are plenty of things to do. You can visit the Salts Mill history exhibition, the wonderfully appointed bookshop, go antique hunting, wander around the extremely tasteful home shop, or simply relax and enjoy a proper Yorkshire brew in a Hockney designed teacup.
For further information and opening times please visit: www.saltsmill.org.uk
All images by Julie Eagleton.