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Tessa Hunkin’s New Mosaic In Haggerston

July 1, 2020
by the gentle author

If you are seeking a destination for your daily walk you can do no better than directing your footsteps towards Haggerston where Tessa Hunkin & Hackney Mosaic Project‘s largest ever mosaic has just been completed on the Acton Estate.

Eight months of work by Tessa and her team reached its spectacular culmination last week as mosaic specialist Walter Bernadin laboured from early morning to install their latest masterpiece before the sun reached its full heat. Funded by the developers who have redeveloped part of the post-war estate, the mosaic forms the centrepiece to the shopping parade at the heart of the neighbourhood which takes its name from Nathaniel Acton who owned the land in the eighteenth century.

Drawing inspiration from Haggerston’s rural past, Tessa’s design evokes the natural world, illustrating the farm animals and fruit trees that once were here. A closer study reveals hidden initials of local people who were each responsible for different aspects of the work – the animals, plants and birds.

Quickly, a small crowd of residents gathered to admire the new mosaic, appreciative of its lyrical finesse and elegant detail which alleviate the surrounding acres of paving, concrete and brick. In such grim and lonely times in the city, everyone was heartened and uplifted to witness this flourishing of creativity and community spirit, enhancing the urban environment for years to come. It is a symbol of renewal.

The mosaic can be found outside 224 Haggerston Rd, E8 4HT

Mosaic expert Walter Bernadin at work on the installation

Tessa Hunkin surveys her work in progress

Walter checks for missing pieces

Tessa places the final mosaic tile

THE HACKNEY MOSAIC PROJECT is seeking commissions, so if you would like a mosaic please get in touch

You may also like to read about

The Mosaic Makers of Hoxton

The Hounds of Hackney Downs

The Cats of Hackney Downs

The Hoxton Varieties Mosaic

The Mosaic Makers of Hackney Downs

The Award-Winning Mosaic Makers of Hackney

The Queenhithe Mosaic

Hackney Mosaic Project at London Zoo

At the Garden of Hope

The Haggerston Mosaic was created with the participation of Ken Edwards, James Johnson, Nicky Turner, John Friedman, David Lilley, Janice Dressler, Bernard Allen, Mary Helena, Linda Green, Elspeth Worsley, Mark Muggeridge, Shaz, Tessa Nowell, Sheri Lalor, Gabi Liers, Jackie Ormond, Dani Evans, Frances Whitehouse, Rose Woolmer & Jeremy Maddison.

Special thanks to Denise Bingham of the Residents & Tenants Association who fought to have the mosaic on the Acton Estate.

22 Responses leave one →
  1. July 1, 2020

    Absolutely gorgeous!

  2. July 1, 2020

    That really moved me to see such a thing of beauty and skill particularly
    in such a sad and troubled world at present – thank you.

  3. Jill Wilson permalink
    July 1, 2020

    Wow! What a fantastic piece of work by Tessa and her team…

    And one that will delight people for years to come.

    Wouldn’t it be great if all new developments had to include something so beautiful and life affirming?

  4. Annie S permalink
    July 1, 2020

    Beautiful work!

  5. Helen permalink
    July 1, 2020

    Oh my goodness. What a beautiful mosaic. I am overawed by it. I do hope it will be appreciated and enjoyed for many years to come.

  6. July 1, 2020

    Such a beautiful work of art! Hugely moving – and as Jill says about, art (and nature) should be a compulsory part of all new or refurbished developments.

  7. July 1, 2020

    Beautiful work of art..

  8. July 1, 2020

    I live nearby in Scriven Street and I have been wondering how this bit of land was to be redeveloped from last year or so. I’m thrilled to see the mosaic there. It is gorgeous. Tessa and Walter have laid it so beautifully. I always fear Hackney could easily lose its connections to its rich and varied history as developments pile in. It makes an incredible difference to have something like a mosaic celebrating the origins of the area. I am also very happy that the Gentle Author was on hand to record the installation of the mosaic. History has its own history too!

  9. Amanda permalink
    July 1, 2020

    Oh how l love the surprising colours of the three sheep in Image 10.
    This masterpiece is very inspiring.

    Agree with Caroline, every new development or refurb should have an historic mosaic to arouse curiosity and unite communal pride.

    The theme reminds me of Gillian Tindall’s first book THE FIELDS BENEATH (the houses of London’s Kentish Town )

  10. July 1, 2020

    How wonderful that people still have the time and patience

  11. July 1, 2020

    GA, thank you for continuing to update us about the remarkable work of these Masters Of
    Mosaic. Each time their work is featured, I feel a surge of optimism. Perhaps a future post
    could be a look inside the process of creating one of these beautiful installations?

    The Hackney Mosaic Project is one of your national treasures.

  12. paul loften permalink
    July 1, 2020

    Such intricate and amazing work! What is more, situated in a place where working class people can walk by in the course of their daily lives and stop and enjoy its splendor. The rich no longer appreciate such things anyway as nowadays they make their money from treading on people. It would be just another thing to step on

  13. Jennifer Newbold permalink
    July 1, 2020

    I was delighted with this article; with the news here in the United States being so bad it was a joy to read something inspiring. The mosaic is beautiful!

    When I woke this morning I made myself consider, ‘Something remarkable might happen today…’ — and look! Something did.

    Thank you, G.A.

  14. Anne Scott permalink
    July 1, 2020

    Just beautiful!!

  15. Ros permalink
    July 1, 2020

    This mosaic is absolutely beautiful. I love everything about it, its beautiful delicate colours, the lettering, the design of the plants, fruits and animals with each bit of space so elegantly filled, and all its references to the history of the area and to individuals. Lots of classical references too – it could take its place on any Greek or Roman site where it would hold its own among the most skilful and finest mosaics of previous ages. Congratulations to everyone involved in its making and installation, and to Hackney for commissioning it.

  16. Valerie permalink
    July 1, 2020

    Gentle charm that fits in and ‘sparks joy’. It’s really lovely.

  17. Mary Helena permalink
    July 2, 2020

    Thank you Gentle Author for yet again featuring our little group. This community project is just outstanding and I am so proud to be part of it and so happy to think of Tessa as my friend. She is a total inspiration!

  18. July 2, 2020

    I love the colours as well as the wonderful design.

  19. Dr jonathan van Halbert permalink
    July 2, 2020

    A splendid Tribute to Hope, who came out of Pandoras Box.. I often wonder what would have

    happened if Epimetheus like his brother Prometheus had also rejected the beautiful Pandora?

    Prometheus knew that Jupiter was vengful . Of the stolen gift of Fire he gave to Humanity.

    Would life as we know it to-day be different? If Epimetheus had not been such a fool..?

  20. kerry permalink
    July 5, 2020

    So enchanting. Although I find her early ones from hoxton of plants and flowers thickly strewn are the most refreshing, in their patterened borders. Nature in its patterened complexity, the jeweled bursts of blossoming plants! I like the sheep. Boris, build these everywhere. Go Tess!

  21. mlaiuppa permalink
    July 6, 2020

    That is just fabulous. Neo-Roman Mosaic. There should be an art category named just for her work. Hopefully that mosaic will still be there long after those ugly buildings are gone.

    I have really enjoyed all of the articles and especially photos of Tessa’s work from this blog. I’ve followed the links, visited her website and even bought a few books.

    I love mosaics and have even attempted a few garden steppingstones. Now that I have some proper tools, time and the inspiration from her work and your blog, I’m going to try it again. Just very small projects and nothing even approaching her beautiful mastery. But I am inspired to make a few more stepping stones for my front garden.

    I have seen some original Roman mosaic work, both here in the U.S. and on a recent trip to Italy. Tessa can rival any of them. It’s her own unique style as an artist but every bit as fine. Should I ever have a chance to travel to London, I will be doing a tour of locations where all of her mosaics are. I’ll make a list and map them out before I even pack my bags. Thank you so much for providing such a wonderful showcase and information on her work. Of course, you are inspiring too. So many place to go see just from reading all of your blog posts.

    I hope by the time I visit, if I ever do, the Chapel Bell Foundry will be saved and a working museum with tours, information and demonstrations.

    If there is anything positive to come from the current pandemic, I hope that it has slowed the developers down and stopped some projects from moving forward.

  22. Esther Wilkinson Rank permalink
    October 7, 2022

    I happened upon this mosaic by chance this morning while waiting for my Covid booster time at Haggerston Pharmacy. It is the most beautiful piece of art — so intricate and certainly a labour of love. I then got home and lo and behold, the GA had an article on it so I know a lot more now The pharmacist giving me my booster said one of mosaic makers is a customer so I told him to please relay my thanks for such an uplifting start to my day.

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