Reuben Dangoor and more turn pub signs into nudes to support hospitality industry

In reaction to rising energy costs, The Pub Renaissance sees artists contribute reimagined signage to an auction and poster sale to help pubs in need of financial support.

22 March 2023

According to the charity Hospitality Action, applications for financial support from pubs and venues across the UK are up by 29 per cent this year. A new art project seeks to raise funds for pubs who have been impacted by the cost of living crisis and the energy crisis, by commissioning artists to create reimagined pub signs with hero figures pictured in the buff. It is launched by Stella Artois, a brand whose products are sold in similar pubs and venues across the UK.

11 artists are involved in all, including Reuben Dangoor, Bernadett Timko, Emma Wesley, Becki Gill, Samuel Rees Price, Alice Tye, Mattia Guarnera, Natasha Klutch, RYCA, Enigma and Heath Kane. The final collection of artworks offer a range of scenes, all based on real pubs from across the UK. The disproportionate amount of Queen Victorias and King’s Heads in the UK make for several portraits of monarchs, previous and currently reigning, all depicted partially nude. There’s also a cricket scene by Dangoor with a strategically placed bat, while a pub called The Plough is reimagined in a rural scene by London-based illustrator and painter Alice Tye.

The nudes are available at an online auction which runs until 5 April, or can be purchased as posters. Profits raised from The Pub Renaissance will be donated directly to Hospitality Action to help pubs with rising energy bells. Stella Artois have pledged to match funds raised, up to £50,000.

According to the release, the idea for an all-nude collection of works is linked to the launch of Stella’s Unfiltered Lager – both denoting “living life ‘au naturel’”. The campaign also aims to invite the public to “value pubs as much as they do high art”.


Natasha Klutch: George & Dragon (Copyright © Natasha Klutch, 2023)


Reuben Dangoor: The Cricketers (Copyright © Reuben Dangoor, 2023)


Samuel Rees Price: Queen Victoria (Copyright © Samuel Rees Price, 2023)


Heath Kane: King’s Head (Copyright © Heath Kane, 2023)


Heath Kane: King’s Head (Copyright © Heath Kane, 2023)


Emma Wesley: The Bricklayers Arms (Copyright © Emma Wesley, 2023)


Enigma: The Cannon (Copyright © Enigma, 2023)

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Alice Tye: The Plough (Copyright © Alice Tye, 2023)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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