I have enjoyed every visit that I have made to Saltaire in Yorkshire. The last time I was there was January, everything looked beige and brown but still lovely.
Saltaire is a model village built by Titus Salt in mid to late 19th century and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Italian renaissance inspired the architecture of the public buildings and the cobbled streets of terraced houses are named after Salt's numerous children.. and Queen Victoria, this was a smart move and she awarded him a baronetcy.
I expect that Fanny Street raises a smile these days. Titus Salt was a mill owner, he owned mills in nearby Bradford which at the time was ridden with disease; Saltaire was to be a clean fresh start. Instead of a pub Salt gave his inhabitants art classes and reading rooms; education was a large part of his vision. The mill closed in the 1980s and has been sympathetically renovated as Salt Mills which now houses a superb book shop, diner, small shops and two floors of art gallery. This was the second time that I had visited Salt Mills to see works by artist David Hockney.
Walking into the 3rd floor gallery to view Hockney's Arrival of Spring was a joyous blast of colour. Each painting was produced on an Ipad and recorded the changing scenery at Woldgate near Bridlington, as the season progressed from January to June.
Hockney explains 'I realised how quickly I can picture it withIPad, a lot faster than watercolour for example. Simply faster. You an choose a new colour or new brush more rapidly. You don't have to wait for anything to dry'. He adds 'Turner would have loved it'
As you view each painting up close the lines and squiggles have a child like quality and you might not have a clue what you were looking at until the bigger picture is revealed a few paces away.
By the time that I had viewed every one of the 45 paintings I really did feel as though Spring had arrived.
As a final note before we leave Saltaire I must give a mention to Jeanette's Cakery on Bingly Road. Their flat white was one of the best ever.. anywhere... it was stencilled and the cakes were fabulous. I had two!