Alumni Toby Leigh: Berberry

Toby Leigh is an alumni of the BA (Hons) Illustration with Animation course from 1998 featured previously on this blog. During Toby’s period on the course Gavin Parry was Illustration programme leader (now Senior Lecturer on BA (Hons) Photography) at Manchester School of Art. I like to think that there is some latent, slow burn influence in this project that links Gavin’s exhibited work of the period around found objects under the titles ‘Neither Use nor Ornament’ and a series on ‘Car Boot Sales’.

Toby’s latest project launched in April 2016 is a collection of over 100 photographs under the title ‘Berberry’ a documentary photographic publication which chronicles the way Toby has spent the last decade tracking down  fake ‘Berberry’ items in the public domain masquerading as mass produced consumer fashion items, cake decoration, cars, tattoos, wheelchairs, iPhone covers, false nails, toilet seats and much much more.

The images delight in the absurd manner in which this iconic pattern has been appropriated, disseminated and abused to become in Toby’s words “the global symbol of pseudo-luxury and faux British heritage”.

Product shots by Romain Forquy

The book retails at £25.00 and can be purchased directly at:

Toby Leigh is an award winning illustrator and artist whose work can be seen across many design disciplines. Previous projects include

tote bags: created during the London 2012 Olympics at the time featured across the world’s media and recently added to the permanent collection at the V&A.

Shite Britain Souvenir Tea Towels Ironic take on heritage signs symbols and visual language of the tea towel

Crap Christmas  cards Exactly what it says it is.

Toby has wide experience as an illustrator (known as Tobatron) – represented by CIA artists agents and a regular contributor to publications such as The Guardian, The Times, The Independent, and Esquire.

With thanks to Toby Leigh for supplying press release information to assist with this post. The book is now on order for the School of Art Library.







Author: Ian Whadcock

Senior Lecturer Manchester School of Art, BA(Hons) Illustration with Animation course.