The ever-popular William the Conqueror pub at Rye Harbour has a new addition to brighten up the surroundings – a newly painted mural on the path through its garden by the River Rother.
The bright and colourful painting covers the steps and path that runs through the tables in front of the pub and depicts the river Rother as it snakes across the marsh and past various local landmarks including the red roofed hut, the windmills, the RNLI flag, the Landgate, Ypres Castle and the Gun Garden, and St Mary’s Church.
The painting was the idea of the landlords, Maria and Neil Smallwood, who wanted to add some colour to the outside seating area. They commissioned the Hastings-based artist, Luke Brabants, to design and paint the path, having previously used him to paint a 1066 Bayeux Tapestry-inspired mural in the garden of another of their pubs, the King’s Head in Battle.
Luke Brabants studied at the East Surrey College of Art Design and Media and is a full-time artist mainly working with spray paint rattle cans on detailed murals and elaborate designs on vehicles.
He said: “Nearly all my work is commission-based so whatever the customer wants I work with them on ideas and design, to then create the finished outcome.”
Maria was keen to incorporate the steps into the design so that the image flowed from them onto the path.
Luke explained: “Maria knew the look and style she wanted for this job which luckily was a simple style of block colours and black outline and similar to the old travel posters of the early 20th century. She wanted a montage of lots of the key features of Rye and Rye Harbour including a river flowing from the top to the bottom of the space.”
The commission came with some challenges: the river is shown in birds’ eye view but the buildings are shown from ground level so Luke had to incorporate the different perspectives. He also had to consider how to paint on an area that people will be walking over in all weathers.
“The job was completely different to anything else that I had done before as I was working on concrete on a floor that lots of people will walk over. I usually work on walls where the risk of it fading is minimal. First, I prepped with garage floor paint as the base coat and somehow managed to paint downwards with spray paint which isn’t the easiest. I then protected it all with decking oil with anti-slip, as a varnish would have made it terrible if it was wet. This should make it last. Time will tell.”
There has been lots of positive feedback from visitors to the pub, both while Luke was working on it and now that it has been completed.
Maria is very pleased with how Luke has represented her brief. “Customers love it,” she said. “They make some very good comments. It is a lovely way to celebrate the area and we are confident that all tourists will love it when they visit Rye Harbour this summer.”
They certainly will! It is wonderful that Maria and Neil have acted on their obvious passion for the area to give a local artist the opportunity to represent their vision and to give pleasure to others. Oh and the food and beer are excellent too!
You can see more of Luke’s work at https://www.instagram.com/brabantsluke/.
Image Credits: Courtesy of William the Conqueror , Luke Brabants .