Exhibition of paintings inside West Runton cottage

The work on display inside a tiny West Runton cottage spans the decades and documents a lifetime of work by a North Norfolk artist – and now it is being put on show for the public to enjoy.

The work, by painter and art teacher Ren�e Ett�, has been compiled and hung inside her cottage in Golf Close, West Runton, by her son William, who says he is hoping it will provide happy memories for those who knew her.

The exhibition starts today and will be ongoing from then with no set finish date.

Mrs Ett� died in 2002, aged 82, but left behind her a legacy of work.

Her son William Ett� , 60, who lives in the West Runton cottage, said; 'I am really trying to get people who knew her or were taught by her to come. This exhibition is more for them, giving them a chance to see work from her that they may not have before.'

Mrs Ett�, who was adopted when she was a baby and brought up in Highgate, North London, was a wartime student of the Slade Schools of Art, which moved from London to Oxford for safety. There she met and became engaged to a fellow scholar, the war poet, Sidney Keyes,

He was killed in action in Tunisia in 1943, but before his death, he had written a poem inspired by the work she did for her diploma.

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After leaving college, Mr Ett� says she did a lot of illustration and oil painting.

She came to Norfolk in 1960 with her second husband Anthony Ett�, having been married before to Francis Johnson, and then became tied up with work as a farmer's wife. In the 1960s she also started teaching art at evening classes, before, in the 1970s, taking up painting again full time.

She moved to West Runton in 1992, before that living in Holt and Briston and had five children and 10 grandchildren.

Mr Ett� said: 'Her idea was to paint on the spot and never work in the studio, which stopped her becoming too commercial.'

She held exhibitions all over Norfolk and also took part in other crafts making silk scarves and china painting.

She painted up to the age of about 78, then, in the last years of her life, battled bipolar disease, a psychiatric illness, and had a stroke which left her with a tremor in her hand.

Mr Ett� estimates his mother did hundreds of paintings during her lifetime, but after she died he was only able to find 30 paintings in her cottage. Since then he has been able to locate more of her paintings and bumped up that figure to around 70 for the exhibition, ranging in date from 1937-97.

The paintings are mainly watercolours and comprise of landscapes of various places in Norfolk, including West Runton beach, and overseas in Italy, for example.

Mr Ett� said he was aware at one point that his mother had taken some work to Suffolk galleries, but was unable to locate them or find anyone who could help.

Mr Ett� said people were welcome to telephone him and arrange times to come and view the work. He can be contacted on 01263 837237.