Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Norwich school

Am just about to head off to Norwich, in East Anglia, to do a "recce" on the Norwich school of painters for a British client. The 19th century Norwich School, whose landscapes and seascapes recall the realism of Dutch 17th century painting, can justifiably claim to be the only regional art movement that England has ever known. If the father of the "Norwich Society of Artists" was John Crome, then its leading exponent was John Sell Cotman, widely regarded as one of the country’s most accomplished water-colourists.

Norwich Cathedral
I'm going to look at some of the finest œuvres of the Norwich School and examine how the Norfolk countryside, its broads and rivers, inspired Crome and his fellow artists.  

Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, the beneficiary of a lavish £12 million refit, hosts the most comprehensive collection of the work of the Norwich School. Alongside paintings by John Crome they have an unrivalled anthology of oils and water-colours by John Sell Cotman as well as landscapes by Robert Ladbrooke, James Stark and Crome's two sons, John Berney Crome and William Henry Crome.  Other local painters represented in the museum include Sir Alfred Munnings and Edward Seago.  

Henry Moore at Sainsbury's
So much for my background research - all that was new to me. What I did know, from previous visits to the region, is that Norwich’s fascination stretches far beyond its eponymous art school: the Sainsbury Centre celebrates the genius of Henry Moore, Giacometti, Bacon, Picasso and Modigliani, whilst Jacobean Blickling Hall evokes an altogether different era.  Reputedly home to the headless ghost of Anne Boleyn, Blickling is hung with family portraits by Gainsborough and boasts a splendid “Peter the Great Room”, which commemorates the service of the Earl of Buckinghamshire as ambassador to Russia.

1 comment:

  1. You haven't convinced me - I'm still going to Mallorca for my hols!