Arts help Llangollen boutique hotel Manorhaus focus on business success

Two award-winning hoteliers are focusing on the arts as an effective way of promoting their new business in Llangollen.

Gavin Harris and Christopher Frost have commissioned a light installation artist and a photographer to produce works for their new boutique hotel and restaurant in the town.

They are running the six-bedroom boutique Manorhaus alongside the long-established Ruthin hotel of the same name.

The pair have a track record of working with Arts & Business (A&B) Cymru, an organisation which facilitates mutually beneficial partnerships between business and the arts.

Gavin and Christopher have worked successfully with A&B Cymru in connection with their hotel in Ruthin and decided to join forces again in Llangollen.

As a result, A&B Cymru introduced local artist Jessica Lloyd-Jones who created designs based on patterns from the traditional woollen mill Melin Tregwynt in Pembrokeshire for the light installation and commissioned photographer Cordelia Weedon, from Llanfyllin, to produce exclusive black and white images of the town, to complement the distinctive architecture of the town.

Gavin explained: “We decided on a light installation to help make the building stand out but we wanted it to be subtle and in keeping with the town. We thought it would be so much better than basically throwing up a lot of modern, ugly, signs.

“We were impressed with Jessica’s ideas particularly as she planned to use designs based on Melin Tregwynt patterns, such as the traditional Knot Garden design which we have on cushions and furnishings within the hotel.

“Llangollen is known for its black-and-white buildings so we wanted to carry that theme through the hotel. So we commissioned Cordelia to produce exclusive black-and-white images of the town.

“We didn’t want colour as it just wouldn’t have worked the same and we wanted unusual images of Llangollen showing the town from a different perspective. These framed photographs now hang in each room and really do compliment the Melin Tregwynt furnishings of the rooms.”

Christopher added: “I think art, architecture and interior design can really complement each other. Gavin and I really are passionate about art and believe by working together with A&B Cymru we can promote our business while showing off the very best art has to offer.

“We are delighted with both Jessica and Cordelia’s work and are really pleased A&B Cymru co-invested in making these commissions possible.”

The project was highly commended in the Small Business Category at the 2013 A&B Cymru Awards.

Gwenno Angharad, the organisation’s North Wales Manager, said: “The judges, quite rightly congratulated Christopher and Gavin on their success in integrating art into their business.

“The results are stunning and I’m delighted A&B Cymru was able to help enable Manorhaus Llangollen to commission artworks for the very first time. It has proved to be a wonderful collaboration.”

A&B Cymru works with businesses of all sizes to harness the creativity of the arts.

Gwenno added: “We offer an innovative and effective method of development to any business through our Arts @ Work which brings the skills, values and techniques of the arts into the workplace to inspire, enthuse and develop employees as well as building a stronger brand for the business.

“Arts and Business Cymru’s role, through our Arts @ Work scheme, is to promote partnerships between businesses and artists and to advise businesses on which artists and arts organisations will address their needs and to then broker a suitable partnership.”

Llangollen artist Jessica Lloyd-Jones says in designing the light installation she looked closely at the building and how light would interact with it.

She said: “I took inspiration from the Melin Tregwynt designs of the soft furnishings and cushions within the Manorhaus and came up with a simple but effective design. I also wanted to be able to alter the colour of the light used in the installation.

“For example it can be changed to red for Valentine’s Day. That gives the whole thing a sense of individuality.

“It’s fantastic they are thinking of art and working with artists to promote their business. Artists can work with business towards a common goal and I think we have demonstrated that with what we have achieved at Llangollen.”

Photographer Cordelia Weedon was thrilled to be commissioned to produce the black-and-white photography depicting Llangollen scenes used in the Manorhaus rooms.

She said: “I wanted to achieve a sense of place in the photographs I took of Llangollen. I identified certain locations and wanted to use winter light as the sun is lower in the sky and the trees are bare, so this often makes more interesting images.

“I tried to incorporate the patterns I found in the Llangollen architecture, so that the photographs would complement the furnishings and the décor of the rooms.

“I hope I managed to capture images of Llangollen that give the viewer a different perspective of the town, and I’m pleased at the way the framed photographs have been hung to compliment the Manorhaus Llangollen rooms. Although Jessica and I worked independently, I think aspects of our work link well together.  It’s great to have been working with people who appreciate the value of what the arts can contribute to businesses.”

Anybody wanting more information about Arts & Business Cymru should contact Gwenno Angharad either by emailing her at or by ringing her on 01492 574003. Alternatively you can go to the website:

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