The Artist’s Measure – Through a glass lightly

Words by:
Mike Webster
Featured in:
July 2016

Artist Sarah Chadwick takes inspiration for her designs from traditional pubs and travel experiences. She spoke to Lincolnshire Life about her past and future projects, sharing the stories behind some of her eyecatching canvasses and specially made glassware.
I have become used to tracking down artists and craftspeople, with so many having chosen to live in quite beautiful surroundings, albeit in the most remote places. Sarah Chadwick is no exception and it was by way of a visit to her beautiful manor house home in an East Yorkshire community that I met her.

She greeted me at the gate and welcomed me into the lovely seventeenth-century house that seemed to whisper a hundred tales about its history – not least of which involved the priest hole that led to the local church by way of a tunnel.

Sarah is a charming lady and, as I soon found out, shares my own particular passions for old world values. She has a true belief in quality and in the perpetuity of expert workmanship. I also found out that she is an aficionado of real ale and a swimming enthusiast, even more pleasures we held in common. Her business name and her website is The Artist’s Measure and I decided it was time to get a measure of the artist.

A Lincolnshire girl, born and bred in the village of Branston, Sarah has now lived in East Yorkshire for twenty years. Having completed her early education in Lincolnshire, she studied hard to gain an HND in interior design before moving on to Hull School of Architecture where she then studied for seven years full-time to gain her architectural qualifications. No mean achievement, especially when one considers that throughout this time, she raised two daughters. Hollie and Emily are now 24 and 22 respectively and Sarah firmly believes that it was seeing their mother studying so hard while they were growing up that has contributed to their own success in their studies – they are pursuing careers in music and musical theatre.

Throughout her years of study, Sarah nursed a passion for art and painting and this eventually led her to turn her attention more towards these disciplines at the expense of architecture. She still works in the architectural business in Hull, but currently only on a part-time basis. Now, as she concentrates her efforts much more on the art world, she has introduced a multitude of new ideas.

As well as art, Sarah loves good beer and appreciates the traditional pub – and who doesn’t? The only difference is that she has connected her two main passions by way of a series of paintings of one of her favourite haunts: the White Horse in Beverley, very fondly known to the locals as ‘Nellies’. She smiled as she related the deep-set feelings she has for this old traditional pub, with its unique atmosphere and gas lighting.

I got the idea that her architectural experience and her love of art play off each other in her thoughts and plans for future projects. After an exhibition of her large paintings in Beverley two years ago, she is now constantly approaching other old pubs with a view toward art and decoration.

“It’s all to do with the splendour and historic tradition of these old places,” she told me. “I just have to try and capture the identity of the place and give it a situation where it can be permanently admired.”

It was in 2014 that she accepted and completed a commission from TV chef Rosemary Shrager. It comprised a six-foot painting for her cookery school, along with a set of six other paintings for her patisserie business in Royal Tunbridge Wells.

Sarah told me how, over a ten-year period, she had designed schools, hospitals and many other buildings, many of them connected with healthcare. Her move towards the art world was perhaps encouraged by way of limitations in architecture through legislation. Her experience will always be on hand of course and this, combined with her great ability in painting, will forever ensure that her expert portrayal of old buildings will be ongoing. She told me how, using her experience in interior design, she loves to try and bring a pleasing element of artwork into healthcare centres. Sarah feels deeply about the lack of adequate and uplifting pictures and décor in such places and she really is dedicated to doing something about it. She has done much to influence and improve Leicester Royal Infirmary by means of her large pictures and murals.

I realised that Sarah was never one to pass up an idea, and she certainly has plenty of new ones to exploit. Most likely as a spin off from her visits to her beloved old pubs, she has recently come up with a wonderful new take on decorative glasses for beers, wines and spirits. Describing the new round of resourcefulness, she told me that it came about quite naturally by way of the necessary ‘follow on’ from enjoying pub life and the paintings. Glassware is as indispensable as the décor, Sarah told me. She then proceeded to show me a selection of her latest creations and I feel sure that she has hit a winner with some quite stunning designs. All of them are individually inspired – including her depiction of a fully clad lady diving head-first into the contents of a champagne flute! Surely the final touch for any wedding reception. This idea came to her after she had raised £2,000 for the RNLI last year by swimming the Humber. With some of the most dangerous tides in the UK, Sarah is one brave lady.

Maybe as a result of the same experience, Sarah has come up with the idea for the portrayal of a narrow circular silhouette of a fishing trawler on the sea, along with a depiction of the Humber Bridge. This is striking enough but when set against the bobbing froth on a pint of beer it is something else. What I can only describe as a brainwave in miniature, this is Sarah’s design for Hull’s City of Culture 2017.

A very keen walker too, Sarah gained inspiration from her recent visits to the Lake District where, whilst rambling around Lake Buttermere, she hit upon the idea for her series of whisky tumblers. The whisky measure serves as the water level, with the scenery included around the glass. Intrepid she certainly is, for only in March this year, Sarah completed a three-week trek to Nepal where she ventured as far as Everest base camp. Another design has now arrived in the form of Everest as the backdrop and with the Khumbu Glacier melting into the whisky. With ice, this drink is something to be really savoured. The first delivery of these items has already taken place by way of a large consignment from a Stoke-on-Trent manufacturer and she now tells me that she has to get to grips with some huge distribution issues.

Sarah has an abundance of talent in several art forms, as well as architecture and interior design. She loves the old-fashioned and traditional and she is certainly devoting much of her time to its preservation and promotion. She has without doubt found a gap in the market and she is looking to exploiting this to the full. She has had successful exhibitions in many art galleries and has recently had one of her paintings selected as the official Christmas card for the Friends of Beverley Art Gallery in the Treasury House.

Limited editions by Sarah Chadwick are signed and are the highest quality giclée prints on fine art paper. Sarah is open to commissions for weddings, gifts and all other bespoke artwork as well as larger corporate undertakings.

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