Silk Top Hat Gallery

Contemporary art gallery providing a showcase for original British paintings, prints, sculpture and crafts in Ludlow town centre. Open Tuesday – Saturday 11.00 am – 4.00 pm.

Jill Howorth


Jill Howorth, the owner of Ludlow’s Silk Top Hat Gallery, and Isaac Smart’s, died very peacefully at the Severn Hospice, Bicton Heath, Shrewsbury on the 7th November 2016 after a short illness. She had been a much-loved trader in the town for over 35 years and greatly respected for her interest in the community and for her constant support of Ludlow Assembly Rooms, in which she was involved from its inception.

She was born in Bridgnorth in 1949. Both her parents were artists (as is her sculptor brother David). After gaining a degree in the History and Theory of Art at Sussex University she worked in the Library at Wolverhampton Art College, followed by a post-graduate course in Librarianship at University College, London. She then became Curator of the newly-formed Institute of Contemporary Prints and went with this important collection when it was transferred to the then Modern Collection of the Tate Gallery in London (the origins of Tate Modern).

Jill returned to Shropshire and opened her first exhibition space in Ludlow’s Dinham House in 1980 and moved to Quality Square a year later. Over the years she championed the work of innumerable artists, developed an idiosyncratic artists’ materials and gift shop and, more recently, opened a second exhibition space in Quality Square, Isaac Smart’s – a showcase for contemporary craft work. Every year she organized a special and wide-ranging Christmas Exhibition and was planning this year’s show when she was taken ill.

She died, very peacefully, at Severn Hospice, Bicton Heath, Shrewsbury on 7th November. Donations in memory of Jill will be warmly welcomed to support Ludlow Assembly Rooms (her greatest passion) or Severn Hospice. She will be greatly missed by countless friends, artists and collectors.




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