Hotel’s images are bringing the outside inside


Kirstie Dolphin

TWO award-winning hoteliers are focusing on the arts as way of promoting their new business in Llangollen.

Gavin Harris and Christopher Frost have commissioned a light installation artist and a photographer to produce works for their new boutique hotel and restaurant in the town.

They are running the six-bedroom boutique Manorhaus alongside the long-established Ruthin hotel of the same name.

The pair have a track record of working with the Arts and Business Cymru organisation, which facilitates mutually beneficial partnerships between the worlds of arts and business.

They have worked successfully with Arts and Business Cymru in connection with their hotel in Ruthin and decided to join forces again in Llangollen.

As a result, they contacted local artist Jessica Lloyd-Jones who used designs bases on patterns from the traditional woollen mill, Melin Tregwynt, in Pembrokeshire, for the light installation and commissioned photographer Cordelia Weedon, from Llanfyllin, to produce exclusive black and white images of the town, to complement the distinctive architecture of the town.

Gavin said: “We decided on a light installation to help make the building stand out but we wanted it to be subtle and in keeping with the town. We thought it would be so much better than basically throwing up a lot of modern, ugly, signs.
“We were impressed with Jessica's ideas particularly as she planned to use designs based on Melin Tregwynt patterns, such as the traditional Knot Garden design which we have on cushions and furnishings within the hotel.
“Llangollen is known for its black-and-white buildings so we wanted to carry that theme through the hotel. So we commissioner Cordelia to produce exclusive black-and-white images of the town.

“We didn’t want colour as it just wouldn’t have worked the same and we wanted unusual images of Llangollen showing the town from a different perspective. These framed photographs now hang in each room and really do compliment the Melin Tregwynt furnishings of the rooms.”

Christopher added: "I think art, architecture and interior design can really complement each other. Gavin and I really are passionate about art and believe by working together with Arts and Business Cymru we can promote our business while showing off the very best art has to offer.

“We are delighted with both Jessica and Cordelia’s work and are really pleased Arts and Business Cymru co-invested in making these commissions possible.”
The project was highly commended in the Small Business Category at the Arts and Business Cymru Awards.

Gwenno Angharad, the organisation's North Wales manager, said: “The judges, quite rightly, congratulated Christopher and Gavin on their success in integrating art into their business.

“The results are stunning and I’m delighted Arts and Business Cymru were able to co-invest in the wonderful Manorhaus Llangollen project. It has proved to be a wonderful collaboration.”

Llangollen artist Jessica Lloyd-Jones says in designing the light installation she looked closely at the building and how light would interact with it.

She said: “I took inspiration from the Melin Tregwynt designs of the soft furnishings and cushions within the Manorhaus and came up with a simple but effective design. I also wanted to be able to alter the colour of the light used in the installation.
“For example it can be changed to red for Valentine’s Day. That gives the whole thing a sense of individuality.

“It’s fantastic they are thinking of art and working with artists to promote their business. Artists can work with business towards a common goal and I think we have demonstrated that with what we have achieved at Llangollen.”
Photographer Cordelia Weedon was thrilled to be commissioned to produce the black-and-white photography depicting Llangollen scenes used in the Manorhaus rooms.

She said: “I wanted to achieve a sense of place in the photographs I took of Llangollen. I identified certain locations and wanted to use winter light where I could. The sun is lower in the sky and I always prefer the light during the winter months.
“I liked the patterns I found in many Llangollen places and used in the photography so they complimented the furnishings and the décor of the rooms.
“I hope I managed to capture images of Llangollen that give the viewer a different prospective of the town. And I’m thrilled at the way my framed photographs compliment the Manorhaus, Llangollen rooms.”   

Anybody wanting more information about Arts and Business Cymru should contact Gwenno Angharad either by emailing her at or by ringing her on 01492 574003. Alternatively you can go to the website

See full story in the Free Press

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