The Samson and Hercules statues on Tombland in Norwich have been given a multi-coloured make-over for a new art show.

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The well-known Samson and Hercules statues on Tombland in Norwich have been given a multi-coloured make-over for a new art show.

The white figures, which are replicas of the originals that used to flank the doorway of the old Samson and Hercules ballroom, have been painted a kaleidoscope of colours for the exhibition - called The Show - which will be at the former nightclub until May 26.

The exhibition celebrates colour and mark-making, and it features paintings and drawings by artists Tom Lamprell and Adam Broadley, both from Ringland Hills, and Tazelaar Stevenson, from Norwich.

About the Samson and Hercules statues, Mr Lamprell said: “We just thought we wanted to brighten the area up and just bring a bit of colour and joy to the street.

“The statues are going not be painted like that forever, it is just for the show, and we have had quite a lot of good comments from people about them.

“The intention is that we will paint them white again in two weeks’ time.”

He said the art exhibition fills most of the ground floor of the building, and that in the future they hope to hold other exhibitions there too using even more of the space.

Samson and Hercules House stands on the site of a significantly older building. It is thought the current building was built by the Mayor of Norwich, Christopher Jay, in 1657, with the statues originally made from timber, but white replicas were installed when Samson lost an arm.

The building once housed a large swimming pool. Later on, a dance floor was installed over the top of it and the building was transformed into a ballroom in 1939.

At that time it became a popular venue with the troops stationed in Norwich. But the building was severely damaged by fire in 1944 and was renovated and partly reconstructed in the early 1950s.

Many Norwich couples first met each other there and it was a popular wedding reception venue in the 1940s and 1950s.

Over the years, as the venue went from being a ballroom to the nightclub Ritzy’s and Fifth Avenue, and more recently Ikon, there were plans for the statues to be removed, which sparked a public outcry. As a result, they were retained and restored.

Now the upper floors of the Tombland venue have been converted into residential accommodation and the ground floor and basement have planning permission for a restaurant or café,

About the statues being painted, a Norwich City Council spokesman said: “While the building is not actually listed, having been extensively repaired after fire damage, these are quite iconic landmarks. This means that while the council has no objection to these being part of an art exhibition for a short time, we would want these to be returned to a colour that is in keeping with the character of the area. And it is our understanding that intention is that these will be painted back in two weeks.”

• The Show exhibition is open everyday from tomorrow until May 26 from 11am until 3pm. Admission is free.

12 comments

  • I belive one of the statues is original with one replaced with a fibre glass replica due to rot,but leave them alone in the Norwich Cream colour,!!

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    Albert Cooper

    Friday, May 11, 2012

  • Wot a TOTAL Disgrace to Two of Norwich's most Prestigious Statues, What Next Edith Cavell having a make over ??...Will they Be Repainted back to Original Colour after the Festival or left to look Hideous ???

    Report this comment

    CanarySid

    Friday, May 11, 2012

  • what no brainer thought of this legalised graffiti. the statues have been there for decades(of one type of material or other) and as such are part of the heritage. what next lions outside city hall?

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    grasshopper

    Friday, May 11, 2012

  • What a disgrace. It was bad enough when they disappeared for a while.

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    xara56

    Friday, May 11, 2012

  • This is a disgrace. These two iconic statues now look like a couple of garden giant garden knomes.

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    Len Harvey

    Friday, May 11, 2012

  • They look aweful.

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    Norfolk'n'Good

    Friday, May 11, 2012

  • I think they look great, but thats most probably because I'm gay !!!!!

    Report this comment

    Tmax

    Saturday, May 12, 2012

  • Sorry, but gross - why interfere? They were fine as they were!

    Report this comment

    biglingers

    Saturday, May 12, 2012

  • This is disgusting legalised graffiti is correct this should never have been authorised this is as much about art as a pile of bricks or a dead animal, PLEASE make the idiots that agreed to this repaint them NOW not in 2 weeks time

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    North Walsham Live Aid

    Monday, May 14, 2012

  • Extremely garish. Incidentally where are the originals?

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    Freddie Morris

    Friday, May 11, 2012

  • I think they're great and I'm not gay. They've already become a tourist attraction - saw people having their pictures taken with them today. BTW they're both fibre glass copies and the 'originals' are in the safe keeping of the Museum Service.

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    Rich Hartt

    Sunday, May 13, 2012

  • I Saw the new coloured S&H as I drove past this morning, I assumed the old dance hall was becoming a nursery!

    Report this comment

    KeithS

    Friday, May 11, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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