Merrion mosaics find new home at Leeds College of Art

16 September 2015

The magnificent Merrion Centre mosaics created by Eric Taylor (1909 – 1999), artist and former Principal of Leeds College of Art (1956-1970), have been installed at Leeds College of Art’s Blenheim Walk building.

The mosaics have held a central position in Leeds for almost sixty years; fronting the junction of Merrion Way with Wade Lane, just behind the Merrion Centre.

The refurbishment of the Merrion Centre in Leeds meant that Taylor’s mosaics needed a new home. They are a significant part of the our heritage and so we was delighted to save the mosaics and be part of the restoration and relocation of these beautiful works of art.

The mosaics have been made available to the College on a long-term lease from Town Centre Securities PLC.

Mosaic 3

All images by Rob Searle, BA (Hons) Photography student. Mosaics installed at Leeds College of Art's Blenheim Walk building. 

Four of the our degree students have been involved in the project, working with The Mosaic Restoration Company, restoring and documenting key moments of the restoration process over the past four months.

Simone Wonnacott, Principal of Leeds College of Art, said:

"The Eric Taylor mosaics are significant pieces of Leeds' public art which represent a very important period in Leeds College of Art's history. When we found out they needed a new home, after many years at the Merrion Centre, we were happy to work with Town Centre Securities to provide it. Investing in their restoration not only gave the students who worked on the project a unique experience but will also mean the people of Leeds get to enjoy them for many years to come."

Mosaics 1

Mosaic 2

Lissie Cowley, BA (Hons) Fine Art student said:

“I helped to repair and restore the mosaics with The Mosaic Restoration Company at their workshop in Daventry, once the mosaic had been transported there for restoring. I really enjoyed being involved in this project and it was a great way to finish the first year of my fine art degree. The experience I have gained is unique and I’ve seen how a creative subject can lead to an art form with mosaic.”

The three mosaics, which have been erected onto the side of the building, measure an impressive 14 metres wide by 2 metres high, and are visible for the public to enjoy.

Mosaic 7

Mosaic 12

Rob Searle, BA (Hons) Photography student said:

“My role was to photograph the key moments of the mosaic restoration process and the installation of the enormous mosaic panels at the College. I captured the different stages of the repair work and the craning of the mosaics onto the College’s Blenheim Walk building. Working on such a huge project with the College and The Mosaic Restoration Company was awesome. Mosaic restoration is a very niche market. I never thought I’d be doing mosaic photography. It has been a great opportunity to document something so niche and build on my portfolio to take through into my final year at University. The installed mosaics look so impressive at Leeds College of Art!”

Mosaic 5

Mosaic 6

Mosaic 4

Mosaic 8 (1)

Mosaic 9

Mosaic 11

BA (Hons) Photography students Rob Searle, Hamish Irvine and David Taylor have documented the process and BA (Hons) Fine Art student Lissie Cowley assisted with the restoration of the mosaics.