The Tetley

The 2015 Tetley’s Collection

12 March - 10 May 2015


The Tetley and Tetley’s ale present The 2015 Tetley’s Collection, a new artist’s commission that celebrates the organisations’ unique partnership.

Tetley’s was brewed on this site from 1822 until 2011 when the brewery ceased operation and this former Art Deco office block became The Tetley centre for contemporary art and learning. A fascinating archive of material from the brewery’s industrial past remains and forms the inspiration for this project. Further material from the archive is on display on the second floor of The Tetley.

Ten artists were invited to respond to this unique archive and to present new ideas for a range of point of sale items and brand communications.

The winning artist is Alex Farrar who was selected by a panel of judges comprising experts from the worlds of art and brewing. He wins £4000 and will see his work rolled out nationwide in selected pubs across the UK.

Pippa Hale, Co-founder and Director of The Tetley adds:

“Carlsberg UK is quite rightly very protective of its award-winning Tetley’s brand therefore it is to their credit that they are open to this collaboration and allowing artists to be creative with it. Now that The Tetley is a year old, I’m really excited that we are working with Carlsberg UK in this creative new way. What began as a partnership to transform the building into a cultural destination for Leeds has developed into a commissioning opportunity for contemporary artists which is what The Tetley is all about.”

Follow the exhibition and debate via The Tetley social media channels at @The_Tetley and

Please note this exhibition may be occasionally closed due to private hire events. We apologise for any inconvenience. Please enquire with reception when planning your visit.

Artists Statements

Aidan Moesby

Moesby’s submission draws on the former brewery’s history and geography. A solid block of colour represents the outline of the Brewery footprint taken from a 1910 map and a stream of words represents the River Aire which flows nearby. The river has been re-presented as a flow of the key traditional skills which operated within the brewery. The two elements represent a link to the past whilst connecting with the present and glancing to the future.

Moesby is based in Tyne and Wear.

Alex Farrar

Farrar’s design was created using the 1000 year-old technique of marbling. However, rather that using the traditional bath of water with oil-based paints, the artist used Tetley’s ale. As such he was able to engage closely with the material character of the product whilst producing something surprising and incongruous. The resulting landscapes are beautiful and ambiguous and highlight some of the untapped qualities of the brew that have been passed over by successive series of brand guidelines.

Farrar is based Amsterdam.

Alex Sickling

Sickling’s images are inspired by the horse drawn carts used by Tetley’s for over 150 years to deliver barrels of beer in and around Leeds. The ‘gentle giant’ shire horses became synonymous with Tetley’s and their strength and power symbolises the company’s roots and heritage in Yorkshire.

The horses were a familiar sight for the people of Leeds and epitomized tradi¬tion, strength, quality and pride. Both handlers and horses played a strong role in promoting the Tetley image throughout the North of England, appearing in promotional material as well as at country shows and community events.

Sickling is based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Anna Peaker

Peaker’s interest lies in the design history of Tetley’s, particularly old beer labels carrying the Tetley’s coat of arms. She has recreated the coat of arms in a bold, graphic style and hand-drawn type, using the traditional Tetley’s red, cream and black to echo old brand identities whilst updating it for a new generation.

Peaker is based in Leeds.

Conway and Young

Jen Conway and Jessy Young’s proposal refers to the 42 women who took up key – previously male – positions at Tetley’s during World War I. The women’s names are spliced with words associated with brewing and the close family ties of the local workforce to create a simple song. The music refers to 1822 when the brewery opened – there are 18 bars of music set to 2/2 timing – its imagery flowing and curving to symbolise the brewery’s relationship to rivers and water. The idea of music and singing not only relates to drinking songs sung by workers in pubs but also to Tetley’s executive relationship to Leeds’ Cathedral Choir.

Conway and Young are based in Bristol.

Hondartza Fraga

Fraga’s ink drawings ‘Tetley’s Own Country’ mix elements of Tetley’s industrial buildings, both past and present, to create a miniature Tetley’s town. She was influenced by etchings and drawings found in The Journal of the Brewery History Society – Brewery History Number 122 Spring 2006 that evoke traditional creative techniques. Similarly the artist uses drawing, itself a traditional skill, to celebrate the brewery’s craftsmanship and heritage and reference the brand’s progressive Yorkshire roots and values.

Fraga is based in Leeds.

Karl Vickers

Vickers’ chaotic and energetic collages use imagery from the Tetley’s Collection that has been manipulated into geometric shapes reminiscent of 1920’s Cubism and 1930’s Surrealism. These historical mash-ups of old advertising campaigns and iconic brewery imagery include the Bittermen, Joshua Tetley, an etching of the old brewery, cart horses, barrels, the Huntsman’s hat, arm, and face in a few different forms, pints of bitter, sections of different drip mats, logos and the Tetley offices.

Vickers is based in Leeds.

Lesley Guy

Guy has created a series of drawings and paintings using photographs from the Tetley’s Collection of men and women working at all levels of productions. She was attracted by the sincerity of the images and the vision of a lost world of labour and production. Guy has intervened in each narrative to accentuate the subject’s activity or gesture to create fantasy worlds – a realm we have all inhabited at one time or another when we’re supposed to be at work.

Guy is based in Sheffield.

Melissa Burn

Burn’s images stem from an interest in anthropology, or rather de-anthropology, which questions the false dualism between human culture and nature where animals are seen as ‘other’. She extrapolates objects such as tools and artefacts into striking new design contexts so that the objects might be read on their own terms rather than what they might signify to human beings.

Burn is based in Leeds.

Rob Kennedy

Kennedy presents statements and phrases from literary sources about the complicated relationships between alcohol and creativity. The statements are humourous, poetic, emotional, lyrical and ask serious questions about our histories, identities and the myriad of ways that alcohol functions in our society. The objects themselves form part of the drinking environment that invite repose or reflection during those in-between moments whilst a drink is being poured or awaiting the return of a friend. Tetley’s Huntsman now acts as a trusted carrier of these odes and aphorisms, his empty features a blank page on which to inscribe our own thoughts.

Kennedy is based in Glasgow.