The Tetley

Jenny Steele: This House for Building

This House for Building is a residency by artist Jenny Steele that will explore the architectural history of The Tetley building, and the wider social and cultural period of art and design during the building’s construction in 1931. In particular, Steele is exploring the production of modernist screen printed textiles and wallpaper design within this period in northern England, and how this relates to the present day.

Steele is principally interested in exploring the boundaries between crafts, architecture, design and fine art which were very fluid in this period. Throughout the era between 1890-1939 there was a much closer connection between the artist/designer and the manufacturer, with blurred boundaries between fine art, decorative art and consumer culture, which has now separated, creating a stigma between the artistic and commercial.

Throughout the residency a programme of open studio days and events will present Jenny Steele’s research and works in progress. The residency will culminate in an exhibition of drawings, prints and assemblages in The Tetley Bar & Kitchen from May 2017.

This House is for Building is supported by Grants for the Arts from Arts Council England.


Jenny Steele lives and works in Manchester. Her work references 20th century architecture and interiors; particularly mid-war modernist architecture and design. She is interested in the permanence of architecture and how it embodies changing governance, social history, whilst demonstrating utopic hope for the future. By exploring formal and decorative aspects of architecture and interiors, she processes elements through drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture. Recent projects include; ‘Finding Treblinka’ for Staffordshire University and the Rothschild Foundation (2015) exhibited at Treblinka Museum, Poland and Wiener Library, London, and Preston Remembers (2012) in association with In Certain Places.