One day exhibition this Saturday showcases work of Norwich 20 Group

PUBLISHED: 15:44 06 March 2014 | UPDATED: 15:45 06 March 2014

Leslie L Hardy Moore - Thurne Mill

Leslie L Hardy Moore - Thurne Mill


Art work by founding members and leading lights of the Norwich 20 Group is set to go on display this Saturday as part of a one-day exhibition in the city.

Frank William Leslie Davenport - The UEA, NorwichFrank William Leslie Davenport - The UEA, Norwich

The Norwich 20 Group is celebrating its 70th anniversary year with a number of exhibitions, and Keys Fine Art Auctioneers is putting on this free exhibition at the Assembly House ahead of the art being auctioned.

Saturday’s exhibition will feature 38 works by the Norwich 20 Group, including art by five of the group’s founding members – Walter Watling, Henley Curl, Leslie Davenport, Henry James (Jim) Starling and Leslie Moore.

The exhibition also includes 32 works by Arthur Edward Davies, who, although not a member of the group, was a prominent Norwich artist.

All the pictures will be on sale at the East Anglian Art Sale on March 14.

Walter Thomas Watling - Man Marks The EarthWalter Thomas Watling - Man Marks The Earth

Keys’ fine art manager Kevin Lines said: “We have received a good number of Norwich 20 works for our March East Anglian Art Sale, and we felt that it would be a pity to miss the opportunity to showcase these pictures before they were sold.

“We have works by nine of the most prominent past members of the group, and this will be a fantastic opportunity to see them all together in this important anniversary year.”

“Because all of the pictures are for sale in the auction on March 14, visitors to the exhibition will be able to leave bids for any of the works, so this is also an opportunity to purchase a work of art from the city’s leading artistic movement of the 20th century.”

The Norwich 20 Group was formed in 1944 by Walter Thomas Watling, spurred on by the public outcry following a modern art exhibition which came to Norwich Castle. The group sought to promote the understanding of modern art in the region.

Kay Ohsten - Burnham Overy StaitheKay Ohsten - Burnham Overy Staithe

Mr Watling envisaged the group as being similar to the collection of artists who surrounded John Crome a century earlier. The inaugural meeting involved eight artists, but now there are more than 70 members who include painters, printmakers, sculptors and photographers.

• The free exhibition is in the Music Room at The Assembly House, Norwich, on Saturday 10am-4pm.

• Keys’ East Anglian Art Sale is at Keys’ Aylsham salerooms on Friday, March 14 from 12.30pm. Visit

Henry James Starling - Barking Dickey, Westlegate Street, NorwichHenry James Starling - Barking Dickey, Westlegate Street, Norwich

The Norwich 20 Group artists in the exhibition include:

• Walter Thomas Watling (1885-1956) - Norwich School of Art painting tutor and Norwich 20 Group founding father, whose efforts led to its first meeting in November 1944.

• Leslie Davenport (1905-1973) - Norwich 20 Group founding member who stood as elected chairman in 1950 and 1964, spent 27 years teaching at Norwich School of Art, and helped found Norfolk Contemporary Art Society.

• Henley G. Curl (1910-1989) - Norwich 20 Group founding member who attended the group’s inaugural meeting, stood as elected chairman in 1947, also a founding member of Norfolk Contemporary Art Society and patron of Norwich Castle Museum.

• Leslie L.H. Moore (1913-1976) - joined Norwich 20 Group in 1945, taught at Hewett School and in the junior art department at Norwich School of Art.

• S E Hamilton Wood (1918–1989) - attended Norwich School of Art 1936-1940 and London University Institute of Education, wrote art criticism for Eastern Evening News and became a prominent member of the Norwich 20 Group, acting as president in 1960 and 1996.

• Henry James Starling (1905-1996) - joined Norwich 20 Group in 1945, served outside the group as Art Circle chairman from 1947 to 1949 and chairman of the board of governors of the Norwich School of Art.

• Noel Woodward Spencer (1900-1986) - elected Norwich 20 Group chairman in 1954, Norwich School head master 1946-1964, also a leading member of the Art Circle including serving as chairman 1955-1956, president 1974-1976, and being made honorary life member in 1975.

• John Riches (1941-1999) - studied at Norwich School of Art and Design and was a Norwich Institute of Art and Design lecturer from 1972 to 1990, a tribute exhibition, Riches of The 20 Group, was held at St Margaret’s Church in 1999.

• Kay Ohsten (1935-2003) - studied graphic design at Norwich School of Art and Design, and became one of the most versatile and sought after artists in the region.

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