Christine, our Visits Organiser, provided us with a really great day out when we visited Saltaire, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on Wednesday 22 June 2022.

A comfortable coach journey took us to this unique ‘model village’ just four miles from Bradford. It was conceived and built by Sir Titus Salt, a local, very rich industrialist who founded it in 1853.

On arrival we had a welcome cup of coffee and were entertained by Marie Glot, who gave us a very amusing but informative account of Sir Titus, his business empire and his employees. She was dressed in clothes which would have been worn by a typical worker in the Mill.

Whilst cleverly involving her audience to make characters come alive, she gave us an insight into the success of Saltaire, how it came about and how it operated. It was a very good start to our visit.

We were then free to choose where to go and what to see in this lovely little village. As Christine said:

“Art to appreciate, eating out and shopping, what could be more enjoyable?”

 

For me and many others, the highlight of the visit was to see David Hockney’s, ‘A Year in Normandie’. It stretched the length of an enormously long room at the top of the Mill and doubled back down.

 

A Year In Normandie by David Hockney - a 90.75m long vibrant, joyful frieze

A Year In Normandie by David Hockney – a 90.75m long vibrant, joyful frieze

 

A Year In Normandie by David Hockney - a 90.75m long vibrant, joyful frieze

 

A close up section of A Year In Normandie by David Hockney - a 90.75m long vibrant, joyful frieze

A close up section of A Year In Normandie by David Hockney – a 90.75m long vibrant, joyful frieze

 

A description of it on a notice board on entry into the huge room which housed his painting, was as follows:

“At 90.75 metres wide this is Hockney’s biggest ever picture: a vibrant, joyful frieze recording the changing seasons in and around his French garden.

 

Viewing the work – walking, turning and returning to particular details – we join the artist in close contemplation. Here is an exploration of time and space and a celebration of the constantly changing natural world.

 

A Year in Normandie joins together some of the 220 ipad pieces Hockney created during 2020. The artist chases the genesis of his frieze back to 1983 when he first laid eyes upon a 30 metre wide Chinese scroll painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. It was, he recalls, ‘one of the most exciting days of my life’. Since spending time in France in 2019, the artist has been considering the Bayeux Tapestry. The 11th century embroidered depiction of the Norman Conquest of England is 68.3 metres wide and covers 2.5 years of time.

 

Of his own work, Hockney comments: ‘The viewer will walk past it like the Bayeux Tapestry and I hope they will experience in one picture the year in Normandy”.

 

It was a very relaxing and enjoyable day out with just enough time to wander around the buildings and streets of the village, taking advantage of all it had to offer.

Margaret Race