Here in Yorkshire, we’re graced with some of the most breath-taking scenery in the country, and within the landscape are some fantastic, quirky, and soulful businesses – which we love!
So, we decided to dedicate a blog series to the companies that are at the heart and soul of the area, so you can find out a little more about them.
Up next, we hear from Madeleine Agnew, Honley-based artist operating as Maddie Paints.
Sum up your business in 100 words...
I am an artist based in West Yorkshire, who creates unique and quirky oil and watercolour artworks. As well as selling original paintings, I also list limited edition prints, cushions, and home furnishing to brighten up any space. I work on commissions producing portraits and bespoke artwork for peoples homes, too.
Tell us about your team...
I am a sole trader, so I don’t really have a team, but I do have a network of Yorkshire businesses that help and support me — including Holmfirth Colour Print, for high quality archival prints, as well as business stationery, and Trade Picture Frames in Meltham, for wholesale frames and mounts.
Outside the Yorkshire region, Aqua by Design is a great company, located in the Peak District, that digitally prints onto upholstery fabric. Plus, I work really closely with a Manchester-based furniture maker, Twisted Loom, to create bespoke upholstered pieces and footstools — featuring surface patterns I’ve created based upon my paintings.
I’d also love to give a shout out to Steve and Andy from Holmleigh Manor, whose boutique guest house plays host to a collection of my work — adorning the walls in three of the reception rooms, as well as a couple of bedrooms. They’ve promoted my work since the outset, and I have to say, their beautiful manor and unique maximalist style has certainly influenced my work — simply because it has created the perfect ‘canvas’ to hang my paintings.
What makes Madeleine Agnew special?
I am a portrait artist with a twist. I am not content with conventional people or animal paintings, I’m always looking for a way to make a painting more intrinsically captivating. I think this is what draws people to look at my work, above anything else.
I am hugely passionate about creating objects that people engage with — whether that’s a painting, a bespoke piece of furniture, a cushion, or even a greetings card. The customer can dictate the theme of a painting too! It might be to evoke emotion, like a portrait, or simply be inspired by a colour scheme that will match their interior.
Whatever the direction, building out an idea together is what gets people really invested — not least because it means a customer can get exactly what they want, to suit a specific placement within their property. Having this sort of flexibility means I can create one-off pieces that can’t be found elsewhere too. Plus, it’s not as expensive as you might think!
In the past, I have created fabric, upholstered furniture, and designed wallpapers based upon my surface pattern designs — made up of elements of paintings that are deconstructed and digitally enhanced. They are truly unique artworks in their own right.
What’s your biggest business achievement to date?
The biggest compliment, and no doubt achievement, is the sheer number of clients that come back to purchase time and again.
How long have you been based in Yorkshire?
I moved to Yorkshire in 2001, and have lived in the Holme Valley since 2007. I have been working full time as an artist since 2019
And, what’s your favourite thing about the county?
I love how — especially living in the Holme Valley — Sheffield, Leeds, York, and Harrogate are all within easy reach. I have traded at many fairs, markets, and local events within these areas, and I just love being face to face with customers. Seeing their reactions to my work and hearing feedback offers encouragement like no other!
I truly feel like I am in the heart of a thriving artist community. The support from other small businesses, as well as from customers that value artists who are doing something a bit different, is a real tonic today.
When you’re not hard at work, what’s the one place you love to visit in Yorkshire?
There is a great new restaurant just on the outskirts of Meltham, nestled on the edge of the Peak District and just 5 miles from Huddersfield, called Lu’s Place. It’s got some real rave reviews!
And here’s some exciting news, hot off the press — on Sunday 7th May (the coronation weekend), they’ll be playing host to the first artisan market, organised by Distinctively Yorkshire. This will probably be the next fair that I attend in the area, so if anyone is interested in seeing my collection of prints, cushions, greeting cards, and original art, please come along. Hope to see you there!
If you want to learn more about Maddie Paints, head over to the website.