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Norwich gallery with a rich history gets a new lease of life

PUBLISHED: 06:30 08 April 2016

Fairhurst Gallery ownership handover. Left to right, Sophie Barrett, Timothy Fairhurst, Thomas Humphrey and Dulcie Humphrey. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Fairhurst Gallery ownership handover. Left to right, Sophie Barrett, Timothy Fairhurst, Thomas Humphrey and Dulcie Humphrey. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

Tucked away from view, down an alleyway beside a city centre bar, is a gallery whose name is spreading round the world.

Fairhurst Gallery ownership handover. New co-owner Dulcie Humphrey. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Fairhurst Gallery ownership handover. New co-owner Dulcie Humphrey. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Artwork by Andy Warhol, L.S Lowry and Edward Seago has been looked after at the former jazz club off Bedford Street, where The Kinks used to rehearse.

Now the Fairhurst Gallery, whose entrance is next to Frank’s Bar in Norwich, has been entrusted in a new generation.

Soldier Joseph Fairhurst founded the gallery in 1949 in Elm Hill, and it moved to Bedford Street in 1976 under the direction of his son Tiz, 66, who also ran its framing business.

Tom Humphrey, 33, the younger brother of TV presenter Jake Humphrey, joined the business around five years ago, having worked as a builder after leaving art school.

Fairhurst Gallery ownership handover. Sophie Barrett restoring a frame with gold leaf.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Fairhurst Gallery ownership handover. Sophie Barrett restoring a frame with gold leaf. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

He learnt expert conservation techniques from Tiz Fairhurst, and when Mr Fairhurst decided to retire last year, he offered him the chance to run the gallery.

“It was an opportunity that was far too good to miss,” said Mr Humphrey. “We’re surrounded by beautiful things and I see a new beautiful picture or artefact every day.

“Having studied art and being in the arts all our adult lives, to be in a workshop environment and practicing the skills I love is brilliant.”

He runs the gallery together with his wife Dulcie, 32, and workshop manager Sophie Barrett, 32.

They are continuing the traditional framing business, with clients including stately homes around the region, Norwich Cathedral, Norwich Castle and the Sainsbury Centre.

And they have given the gallery their own twist, with the addition of a new-look exhibition space focusing on modern art.

Mr Fairhurst said: “What’s nice is to see the gallery going somewhere and progressing. It has a purpose.

“It’s not like places where someone takes over and it gets very static. This has got life.”

The gallery’s latest exhibition, Nature Boy, runs until May.

See www.fairhurstgallery.co.uk

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