Photo gallery: Bid to give current East Anglian artists taste of fame enjoyed by Constable and Munnings
© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2012
From John Constable to John Sell Cotman, from Edward Seago to Alfred Munnings, East Anglia has a rich heritage of world-class artists.
And the wide skies and unspoiled landscapes continue to inspire home-grown artists and those who move to the region to get inspiration.
Now an organisation has been formed to give the current generation of painters a chance to match the fame of their celebrated forebears.
Norfolk-based landscape artist Brian Ryder has joined forces with Picturecraft Gallery at Holt to launch the Institute of East Anglian Artists (IEA).
It is designed to give exceptional local artists a better chance of having their work seen at high-profile galleries - and to spread the word about the remarkable quality of work being done in East Anglia.
The IEA is currently holding its debut exhibition at Picturecraft, featuring work from East Anglian artists including Bob Brandt, Andrew Dibben, Lillias August, Andrew King and Stephen Teeuw.
The depth of talent in the region was demonstrated by the fact that 200 artists were clamouring to have their work displayed in the exhibition - with the final 16 selected to demonstrate a cross-section of work.
Mr Ryder said: “There are very large organisations in other parts of the country, including Cornwall and Cumbria, which are regional institutes.
“Adrian Hill and I got together and thought we ought have something similar. Despite great artists in the past like Seago and Cotman, there was nothing to represent East Anglian artists.
“We want to encourage the arts in East Anglia. The institute will enable people to feel they can join and have something to aspire to - and not just be represented in the local village hall.”
Mr Ryder added: “The interest we’ve had has been tremendous. We can make it a big society. It’s a very vibrant scene in East Anglia. We’ve got artists wanting to join coming out of our ears.”
The qualification for applying to join the IEA is that you must live and paint in East Anglia.
The IEA will be based at Picturecraft, but plans to hold exhibitions at venues across East Anglia. Its first patron is North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb.
● The inaugural exhibition continues until Wednesday November 7 at Picturecraft in Lees Yard.