Gorleston geometric art strikes a chord
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015
Using a curious combination of lines and colours a Norfolk artist has captured dozens of striking industrial and seaside scenes.
Windmills, wherries, piers, ports, bridges and beach huts make for a portfolio of iconic scenes which have been brought together in a new book.
Ludham-based Robert Chaplin turned 70 last month, and the printed collection is helping him and his many admirers to celebrate the milestone and reflect on his lasting contribution to the region's artistic landscape.
Having spent much of his working life in the advertising industry in London and Brussels, the Gorleston-born graphic designer said he always felt rooted in Norfolk, retiring to the area in 1996.
He began drawing again and after some experimenting hit on the signature style that is familiar to many from greetings cards on sale across the county.
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Art lovers were quick to snap up his geometric, often urban, designs and he soon developed a following and was often hard-pushed to keep up with demand.
With some of the larger pieces selling for up to £900, his efforts were both a commercial and artistic success, although he has consistently kept a low profile.
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Landmarks - The East Anglian Art of Robert Chaplin was conceived, written, designed, published and printed in Norfolk by Sutton-based Mascot Media as a celebration of his work.
Most of the images were produced over a six year period, during which Mr Chaplin worked extremely hard, his detailed and precise drawings often taking three days of close, meticulous work.
A former student at Great Yarmouth College of Art and Design, Mr Chaplin said he wanted to document the area's ever-changing landscape in an original way, and had been encouraged by another Gorleston artist Geoffrey Chatten.
'That is how I see things, in that style rather than in pretty watercolours and I just wanted to do something different for Norfolk and Suffolk.
'I do like the Yarmouth ones because they mean something to me, and some of the Broads ones. It is all about composition.'
His Yarmouth portfolio celebrates the town's changing face with wind turbines, the power station, bridges, cranes and commercial buildings jostling for space with the piers, the promenade and Nelson's Monument in his scenes.
A commission to paint Gorleston's Dutch Pier as it looked in the 1950s rekindled childhood memories of playing around the distinctive structure, informing his style.
Working from a base in the heart of The Broads the major pleasure boating centres of Horning, Wroxham and Potter Heigham are well represented in Landmarks, as well as many of the area's key attractions such as Horsey wind pump, Potter Heigham bridge and that most painted of icons, St Benet's Abbey.
Cromer Pier, Happisburgh Lighthouse, Cley Mill and Wells-next-the-Sea are just some of the locations depicted in the north Norfolk section of the book, while Robert's love of Southwold sees him depicting the Suffolk seaside town's pier, lighthouse and beach huts.
Around 150 of his striking ink, crayon and pastel works feature in the book. Most of them have been sold but prints are available.
He lives with his wife Joan, and the couple have a son, Tim.
He enjoys reading and the cinema but has not worked as an artist for around six years due to ill health.
Landmarks - the East Anglian Art of Robert Chaplin is a paperback of 120 pages. It costs £15.95 and is available from www.mascotmedia.co.uk and selected local bookshops and galleries.