Neil Roland - Gallery 16
Special Celebration pictures - individual commissions

I can create pictures either from my existing collections, or by having pictures specially commissioned - or a blend of the two - pictures to celebrate the lives of those close to you, to mark birthdays, anniversaries or simply a relationship to date.

In this gallery, are a few examples of people’s choices to give an idea of the possibilities. Sometimes, it may involve the houses in which they’ve lived through their lives, a favourite first car - places they’ve spent special time enjoying - or even such things as chocolate, a particular flower - all worked into an aesthetic work that flows from start to finish.

It’s a real pleasure to witness the effect such a picture can have on its recipient when I’m lucky enough to see the moment they see it for the first time.

For further information, please either email or telephone 07792 365 437

Please note that the size, colours and quality of the pictures on this page have been reduced for web viewing and do not accurately represent the detail and vivid colours of the actual photographs

Everything But The Varenky

This was a commission for a 60th birthday. The essence of the picture was designed to celebrate a woman who had trained as a dancer, whose parentage was both Italian and Ukrainian, and had grown up in the Stayleybridge area of Tameside. Her younger sister commissioned the work, and named it after the Ukrainian dumplings their mother had made for their father and the family. The remit of the artwork was to be vivid, and to show the recipient's love of fashion, together with lots of little family histories, from the Ford Cortina Mark 1 into which they all piled as it was the only car in the street at the time, to the places which really meant something to her growing up and into her adult life.

East of Edale

'A celebration of two cities - Hull and Sheffield, all in shades of red and gold. The beauty of this large, square picture is that the largest images can lead the aesthetics, whilst the relevance of very specific places that matter to the couple commissioning the artwork are all worked together in the small but intricate centre section, so the work will be visually bold and stimulating, whilst telling the story of their lives in a unique way.

The Road To Ruby

'A ruby wedding artwork that took in forty years of combined lives, from nursing at St. Thomas's Hospital in London, travel around the globe, and a first meeting on the Lambeth Bridge, to settling on the Wirrall, and many years of happy life together there.

Band of Gold

A Golden wedding present from a son to his parents, a couple whose lives have revolved around the towns of Hinckley and Burbage in Leicestershire. Included are a vintage triumph bike (as the father rode when he met his bride to be), the homes in which they have lived since their births, and through their marriage, their favourite foods, their shared passions and the old Co-op dance floor where they first danced fifty years ago.

Nought to Sixty

A surprise 60th birthday artwork from a wife to her husband. This begins with a slice of patterned carpet which was in his bedroom when he grew up. Maps trace his steps around the country, and his childhood teddy bear, still kept by his mother. The doors at his school and then a section of signs showing all the places that have mattered to him through life. His wedding venue, followed by an ice blue Ford Anglia - his first car. The gates to Heaton Mersey Common, where he loves to walk, and vegetables, grown in his garden - a newer passion.

Have I Told You Lately?

A special 50th birthday picture for a man who was presented with the picture at my studio as part of his birthday celebrations. For this work, I discussed the main areas of life which his wife felt would move him, and would stimulate the best memories. _ A blend of North Wales, belongings from childhood - intimate visual stimulii over the decades.
The picture was unveiled at my studio as they went out for a meal, and it was a lovely experience for me, to watch the pleasure of realisation spread over his face as he took in his wife's interpretation of his first five decades.

898 to 55

This was a special birthday picture for a woman from her parents and siblings. It opens with the stained glass windows at the Manchester home in which she was born, and closes with the door in Muswell Hill, North London at which she currently resides. In between, are the staircases at her schools, The University of Birmingham where she studied, the venue for her marriage, in Hampstead, London, tennis and hockey on a background of her hall floor to represent her children, and her favourite foods.

Just Say It How It Is

All created from lettering on iconic Manchester buildings, this was created as a gift for a psychotherapist.
I can build letters into any concept, idea or sentiment. Recent commissions include 'If It Glisters, It May Still be Gold', or a wealth management company, and 'I love You Jacques Ranc' for a man in Paris from his, well, lover.

I & L Dec 28 2010

Was the intials and date of a wedding, commissioned as a gift from the maid of honour to the couple. The possibilties, are, naturally bounded only by imagination.

Life of Brian

As a 70th birthday present from his son, this picture is all about the life of a man whose first car was a grey, 1950s Austin A30. I have photographed the house in which he was born, with the views from that house. The church at which he married (even finding the marriage records inside, and photographing those too); the places in which he has lived, references to the company he owned and made grow and the wine he likes to drink.


The couple who chose the images for this picture wanted the picture to complement an existing work of mine which was all about the important places in their lives. For this picture, to hang in a large country kitchen, they wanted a mix of Altrincham, Knutsford Sweden and food. So here it is. They came to the studio and we chose pictures of fruit and cheeses, of chocolate brownies and a dishes from their favourite restaurant, Otto Lenghi, in London, and blended these with the places where they’d enjoyed these meals on special dates.
This picture shows a different configuration, with nine equal sized images worked as a large, lanscape picture of approx five foot by four foot - but of course it could be configured quite differently, and in a different size.

Sweet Surrender

Here, the client wanted only food - and to keep it sweet and principally in the plums and reds colour scheme - so I kept this picture to fruit, cake and chocolate, with just a trio of lemons to spike it.

Here, and Some There

Sometimes, it is purely the aesthetics which lead an artwork, rather than relevance. Here, the client wanted turquoise and flame, and to draw from Buxton and Didsbury - but to keep the images mostly abstract. The panel of signage meant that relevance could be achieved easily with graphic words, but all in the relevant colours, while the stained glass and tile work made a luminescent, jewelled picture around it.

A Time To Wear Purple

When a popular doctor was retiring, her colleagues wanted to create two pictures for a particular wall in her home. Rather than her life story, they wanted to celebrate her love of nature, animals, flowers and birds, and theme it with her ebullient characteristic colours of violet and pink and bright yellow. These images - all from around the area in which she lives, were interspersed with specially taken images from within her own house and garden, which created a wonderful surprise present.

The Listers of Lovers Lane

For their marriage, the parents of the young couple who received this picture told me all about their lives - the places where the couple went out, the car they drove, the place where the groom proposed, and the church in which they were to marry. Travelling around various Lancashire locations, I built up a series of images which reflected their lives together which was presented to them on their wedding day.

Roots and Routes

was created for a Coronation Street actress to celebrate the town from which she came, the places she liked to frequent while living in Manchester, and the things she liked to eat while living in the North.

Life So Far

A portrait work for a 40th birthday for a man who came from Wigan, lives in Castlefield and loves vivid colours. His friends chose twenty five images which represent his passions and pleasures, and I worked it into a very personal picture which he said was the best present he’d ever had.

Love, Laughter, Lymm

A ruby wedding picture for a couple who live and love Lymm in Cheshire.

Up and Down The Road

A blend of Glasgow and Manchester and Cheadle. The title reflects the Scottish way of referring to going up and down the motorways between Scotland and England. There is a large Glasgow collection to see at my studios.

A Mini Adventure

This was commissioned for a couple who were getting married, but did not want ‘wedding pictures’ - rather an original artwork inspired by the places and things which had gone into their relationship and run up to their wedding day. The picture opens with the nightclub where they met, the area of London where they currently live, the paper flowers which would be strewn over the tables at the wedding, the road signs which relate to their work, the sweing machine which created the groom’s suit, the wedding invitation, the spot where they waited for a late night taxi after their first date, and the indicator light on the Mini car which was so central to their relationship.
The brief was to make it vibrant and fun, with plenty of red, orange and yellow.

Something Blue

This picture did not require any commissioned work, as I had all the pictures within my existing collections. The couple wanted an extra wide picture, themed on aquas and blues. There are details of buildings in Manchester, Knutsford, Liverpool, Didsbury and Lancashire, all of which were relevant to their lives, but with the emphasis on the aesthetics of the colour scheme.


This play on words title, refers to a picture created for a parents’ ruby wedding anniversary all centred around Didsbury. The images include plenty of ruby red pictures, but also bring in all the places that were important to the couple .


This picture, for a 45th birthday, is named after a favourite song. It incorporates the background of the recipient - with Ireland and Droylesden, the church in which he married, a section on Leeds, where he studied at University, his football team, the swimming baths where he spent time in his youth, his school, and the pubs and restaurants he enjoys most. The brief was to do it with blues, greens and touches of yellow.

A Tale of Two Cities

This picture involves a blend of Liverpool and Manchester for a couple who have lived in both cities. The images are worked together so the two cities complement each other with their different architecture. Again, no commission was necessary as I had all the images. It just takes a conversation to discover what really matters to the people choosing. It’s an intimate and highly enjoyable mutual discovery.


This was the address of the recently deceased mother of a woman who wanted to capture the essence of her mother through the flowers she loved best which grew in her mother’s garden and in the local partks. This was themed to pink with blue. No buildings, just the natural beauty which brought her mother to mind.

I believe in a Thing Called Love

Here, the student days at Manchester University of the client’s boyfriend are blended with the places they have enjoyed together - and includes a section of Manchester buildings with the letters of their names. A totally personal piece, yet all from existing pictures in my collection.

A Northern Odyssey

Here, the remit was to create in shades of plum and turquoise blue, the journey around places which matter to a couple - to include the Northern Quarter in Manchester and Chorlton. The section full of signs allows lots of relevant places to be brought into the picture without detracting from the overall aesthetics.

Northern Odyssey Pink

Here, a mix of Macclesfield, Halifax, Manchester, Liverpool and Didsbury are brought together in an explosion of shocking pink for a really feel-good combination of vibrant colour and relevance.

Shades of Manchester

A Vertical work, incorporating gold, black and white images of Manchester, chosen from the collections by clients who wanted to theme the picture to go with a dramatic gold, black and white bedroom.

Grappenhall Gold

from a series of pictures commissioned by clients of their Village
** It is possible to blend images of a particular place with existing city images, for example, gold pictures from a village, which Gold Manchester/Liverpool/Sheffield or London images.

Irish Life In Manchester

A Didsbury Home
The home of broadcaster Olive Shapley

Dean - A Life So Far
A Biography in Pictures

Victoria Baths
5½ft x 5ft, 17 sections

Central Library, Manchester


The Albany Building, Liverpool

Home and Garden
A Personal Commission

A Close Shave
at the Reform Club, Manchester

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