He became one of the countless victims of the recession when he had to close his design business in 2011.
But Mark Turner has, quite literally, drawn on his past to create a future which looks as pretty as a picture.
The 54-year-old, of Rodney Hill, Loxley, spent his time out of work sketching the Sheffield buildings which have been key in his life. And when he showed the images off they proved so popular he’s now set up a second business – this time as an illustrator.
“These places haven’t just been important to me,” he says. “They’ve been important for lots of Sheffielders. I think that’s why they’ve gone down so well.”
Key among the landmarks are the loved-but-long-gone ‘wedding cake’ Sheffield Register Office where he got married, the Abbeydale Picture House where he discovered the cinema, and – but, of course – the Henderson’s factory, where everyone’s favourite relish is made.
“Sheffield is blessed to have some beautiful buildings and people are proud of that,” adds the father-of-one, whose design business focused on creating exhibition displays for customers like the NHS. “That’s very inspiring as an illustrator.”
He started out with a quartet of beauty spots in Bradfield – including the Church of St Nicholas – and, after friends encouraged him, he asked if he could display them in the post office.
“One was a picture of The Old Horns Inn in High Bradfield,” he says. “The landlord saw it, got in touch and asked if he could use the image on his table mats. That’s when I thought there may be something in this.”
And there has been.
He’s since drawn another 15 landmarks, including stately home Wentworth Woodhouse and the old Town Hall ‘egg box’ extension. And wherever they have gone on sale – from Temptation Tea Rooms, in Abbeydale Road, to Heeley Bank Antiques Centre, in Queens Road – they’ve sold. He’s now planning on putting on canvas The Old Queen’s Head pub, which is the oldest building in Sheffield city centre, and Sheffield Railway Station, which he reckons may just be the most beautiful.
“People have been in touch suggesting what I should do, which is lovely,” he says. “I just thoroughly enjoy doing it.”
SHEFFIELD and her inspiring architecture...
Sheffield might not quite be Barcelona when it comes to architecture, but its buildings have long inspired artists like Mark Turner.
Landmarks such as Tinsley Towers and Park Hill have been committed to canvas dozens of times, while Joe Scarborough has sold his Steel City-scapes around the world. A painting of a Bents Green cottage by Stanley Royle hangs in the prestigious Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. And last year’s Great Sheffield Art Show featured an image of the Henderson’s factory – painted in the relish itself.
It’s not a modern trend, either. This picture of the long-gone Sheffield Club was drawn for a guide to the city in 1879.