A summer-long celebration of angels aims to prove that the celestial beings are all around Norfolk - if you know where to look for them. SIMON PARKIN reports.

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Paintings and carvings of angels, ranging from medieval masterpieces to contemporary creations, will come under the spotlight in this year’s Art Alive in Churches.

The event, which begins this month and continues through to August, aims to celebrate the rich cultural history in Norfolk’s medieval churches.

The 2012 programme features events across the county focussing on the painting and carving of angels, combining medieval art with modern practice.

The first event is an exhibition entitled Artists and Angels at The Cathedral of St John the Baptist in Norwich from June 12-17.

The exhibition features images of angels from Norfolk’s medieval churches photographed by Paul Hurst, along with historical interpretation from experts, including UEA professor Sandy Heslop.

It will be held in the Narthex at the Earlham Road cathedral, from 10.30am-5pm each day, except Sunday, when it will be open from 1pm-4pm.

Other events taking place during the celebration include workshops, talks and visits to churches with particularly good examples of angels.

Jennie Hawks, historic places of worship support officer at the Diocese of Norwich, said: “In medieval times the North Sea and English Channel were major highways for both commerce and art and crafts.

“Norfolk’s great medieval churches benefited from the work of visiting artists from Burgundy and Flanders as well as local craftsmen.

“We are very lucky in Norfolk that many examples of this craftsmanship survived the iconoclasm of the Reformation, post-Reformation and Civil War.

“Art Alive celebrates this rich legacy and brings it up to date with demonstrations from some of the county’s finest contemporary artists.”

Other events taking place include the opening of St Andrew’s Church in North Burlingham between June 12-17 (10am-4pm) and a special service on June 17 at 6.30pm.

The Artists and Angels exhibition will switch to St Catherine’s Church in Ludham during Norfolk Open Churches Week (August 4-12). Maz Jackson, egg tempera artist and enamellist Sheila McDonald will run workshops on August 4-5. Meanwhile wood carver Val Cartmell will run workshops at All Saints Church in Marsham on June 16-17.

t All the events are free. For more details visit: www.norfolkopenchurches.com

WHERE TO SEE ANGELS

Norwich Cathedral — Nearly 250 angels can be found here, open daily.

St Peter Mancroft, Norwich — Angels in nave roof, below upper nave windows, font cover and reredos, open Mon-Sat 10am-4pm.

Wymondham Abbey — Angels in nave roof and Lady Chapel and angels on reredos behind main altar by Ninian Comper, open daily 10am to dusk.

St Edmund Acle, The Street, Acle — Angels on font and sanctuary curtain rail, open daily 9am to 5pm.

St Michael, Booton — Large Victorian angels in roof.

St Peter & St Paul, Salle — Angels on exterior (west end) and on nave roof, open daily 8am to dusk.

St Peter, Ringland — Angels in nave roof, open daily.

St George, Tombland, Norwich — Morris studio stained window shows the Virgin Mary between two stunning winged angels.

St Margaret, Upton — Incredible font, acclaimed as one of the best in Norfolk, features angels on panel.

St Peter & St Paul, Swaffham — Angels in nave roof, open daily 9am-4pm.

St Botolph, Trunch — Angels in nave roof and on font cover, open daily.

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