Mark paints the seasons on the Piece Hall stairs

Six months of work: artist Mark Priestley in the brightly painted
Six months of work: artist Mark Priestley in the brightly painted

THE PIECE Hall may be in the running for a multi-million pound regeneration but one corner has already been brightened up.

Artist Mark Priestley, 50, spent six months working on a mural in the south east stairwell of the historic building.

His artwork depicts the four seasons running up two floors of the staircase of the Grade II-listed building.

Mark, of Greetland, said: “I have been illustrating and painting all my life. I mostly do landscapes as I’m a big fan of nature.

“I’ve done large paintings before but never anything as big as this.”

Six months work has gone into creating the masterpiece which Mark has created for free, paying for all the equuipment himself.

“It’s something I’ve done out of love. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity especially with the Piece Hall because it’s such a beautiful building,” he said.

“I’ve been working from about 9am until 4pm most days,”

With the Piece Hall vying for a £8million Heritage Lottery Fund grant there had been concerns the mural could affect the bid.

“The Piece Hall management told me to get started and see how it goes. They came to see me and said it looked lovely,” said Mark.

“We had a bit of an outcry from English Heritage with it being a listed building but the management said they liked it.”

The painter, who returned to Calderdale this year after living in Scotland for several years, worked with acrylic paint combined with emulsion which he said cannot harm the building and he hopes to be allowed to paint in the Piece Hall’s other stairwells.

Calderdale Council’s Director of Communities, Robin Tuddenham, who is leading the HLF bid, refused to comment on whether he liked the mural. He said: “The Piece Hall is a great place for people to visit and shop and we recognise the efforts of all traders to make it even more attractive to visitors and customers.

“I understand that many people have already seen the mural and have commented on it.

“What is most important is to ensure we achieve the exciting plans for the Piece Hall for the future and transform the Piece Hall into a terrific heritage visitor attraction.”

Despite spending half a year on the design Mark said the mural still isn’t finished.

“There’s still a few things I need to add in,” he said

“The public love it. Many people go out of their way to walk up the stairs and see it developing.

“I like the winter scene at the bottom best. I love that time of year and I always try to paint with my soul.”