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Imagine a street full of Bettys ... Emily Sutton did

7 January 2019

Now, here’s a scene to excite any Bettys fan – all six of our Café Tea Rooms as neighbours in one street. It’s a special illustration drawn for us by Yorkshire artist Emily Sutton to mark our centenary by celebrating the places at the heart of the Bettys story.

Hand-drawn using pen and ink, the scene is a little different from Emily’s previous creations for us, as instead of her usual washes of colour she focused on clean, elegant lines. “It’s a big occasion, so we wanted something traditional and classic looking,” she explains.

Emily has really captured the unique character of each Bettys, from the ironwork of Harrogate to Northallerton's graceful Georgian façade. As she recalls, piecing all of the café fronts together into a harmonious whole presented something of a compositional challenge: “There was a lot of architecture to fit into a relatively small space!”

“What’s interesting is that they’re all different,” she adds. “So the Ilkley one has the characteristics of the town: that stone look with the lovely glass awning. The Harrogate one has much more peaks, with spires and turrets, and then York is a squarer building, with lots of windows. It has that kind of rhythm that you would get in a real high street. The variation in shapes and all of the patterns were really fun to draw.”

Living in York, Emily walks past our St Helen’s Square branch every day. So she’s well placed to add in those extra details that bring each building to life: the guests enjoying Afternoon Tea with a window seat view, the fresh treats arriving in the Bettys van, and even a pigeon or two hopping around outside.

Although the Bettys street exists only in Emily’s creative imagination, you can ‘visit’ it as we celebrate our 100th anniversary with a range of new items decorated with her design – a more compact version fitting neatly around a mug, and a longer version that wraps all the way around a teapot or cake tin.

The cake tin is Emily’s personal favourite, as it turns out that she’s a bit of a collector. “I have lots of antique ones and am really inspired by looking at them, so it’s really exciting to see my own design on a tin,” she reveals. “It’s a growing collection of all different sizes. During the car boot season I pick up an average of one per week. I have a worrying amount of tins,” she laughs.

Emily's illustration is available to buy as a limited edition signed and numbered framed print. Shop the centenary collection here