Art success sends doubters alpaca-ing

Sheffield by Ron Hague
Sheffield by Ron Hague
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Rob Hague’s picture of a reimagined Sheffield skyline includes the obvious things, of course

There’s the Cheesegrater and the Arts Tower, the Town Hall and the tram, seven hills and the Showroom Cinema.

But, it seems, among these iconic city landmarks, it is a feature added to this incredible illustration almost as an after-thought which has won ardent admirers.

“The alpaca,” says the 28-year-old. “So many people have told me that’s their favourite bit. I only added it because I needed to fill space at the front. I used to love going to Mayfield Alpacas centre in Ringinglow when I was a kid so I thought I’d paint that as a tribute.”

On such whims, it seems, does great artistic success lie.

For this painting – done initially as a one-off to feature in a friends unofficial city guide book – has proven so popular with Sheffielders, Rob has been inundated with requests from people wanting their own copies to put up in living rooms, bars and even galleries. He has now produced the piece as an incredible A3 poster and print, available at shops across the city.

Not bad for a Rotherham lad.

“I was completely taken aback by how many people got in touch asking where they could buy it from,” says Rob, of Wellgate. “And I kept saying ‘Er, it’s not for sale’.

“But then I just thought: ‘Actually, why isn’t it for sale?’ So, I made it bigger, added a few more landmarks and got it out there.”

Those landmarks then? There’s plenty of them.

There’s the well-known (if not always well-loved) buildings such as Park Hill and St Paul’s Tower; there’s the historic (the Wicker Arches make an appearance); and there’s the modern – the Winter Garden and Tudor Square both feature.

There’s also, naturally, a small nod to the Peak District with Padley Gorge cropping up in this dream Sheffield city centre.

And – shucks, Rob, you shouldn’t have – there’s also The Star’s old Kemsley House headquarters in High Street.

“Eh?” says the Lincoln University illustration graduate. “I didn’t know that building had anything to do with The Star. It’s just a great landmark. That white dome looks amazing when you’re walking down Fargate.”

Ah. Moving on, then...

It wasn’t easy to produce.

“I’m still perfecting my style as an illustrator,” says Rob. “So just trying to get the clouds right can take time.”

But he’s delighted it’s been so popular since featuring in the Our Favourite Places guidebook earlier this year.

And now? Now, he might move on to other cities.

He says: “I think it’s been popular because people like to see places they know and love.

“I might do one for Lincoln where I went to uni and I was sort of thinking of doing one for Rotherham – although I’m not sure there are enough landmarks.”

Buy Rob’s painting at www.robhague.co.uk or from the Millennium Gallery.