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Failing eyesight forces renowned Broads artist to stop painting

PUBLISHED: 13:57 27 September 2020 | UPDATED: 16:20 27 September 2020

Broadland artist David Dane pictured at Sutton Fen. 

Picture: James Bass

Broadland artist David Dane pictured at Sutton Fen. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2014

An artist whose pictures of the Norfolk Broads sell around the world has been forced to give up painting due to failing eyesight.

Late Afternoon, Turf Fen. An oil painting by Norfolk artist David Dane.Late Afternoon, Turf Fen. An oil painting by Norfolk artist David Dane.

David Dane, 77, who has become renowned for evocative paintings of Broadland scenes, is hanging up his easel and paint brushes after 40 years.

From a winter afternoon at Hickling to wildlife at dawn on Ranworth Broad, his oil paintings have explored countless scenes, documenting the Broads throughout the seasons.

But the artist, who lives on the edge of Sutton Fen with his wife Julia and daughter Miranda, feels his poor eyesight means it is the right time to stop.

Eric Edwards by David DaneEric Edwards by David Dane

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He said: “I never had particularly good sight but it has now deteriorated to a point where I find it virtually impossible to do the quality of work I used to. I’m not prepared to show paintings that are inferior.

“My work is somewhere between very atmospheric and detailed and when you paint sails of a mill or rigging on a yacht it has to be pretty accurate otherwise people will say it’s not right.”

Mr Dane moved from Kent to Norfolk as a child in 1949 and immediately fell in love with the Broads.

Broadland artist David Dane has been forecd to stop painting due to his fialing eyesight.

 Picture: James BassBroadland artist David Dane has been forecd to stop painting due to his fialing eyesight. Picture: James Bass

“I was just smitten with it straight away. I used to be awoken by this booming sound of this strange bird, the bittern, I’d never heard anything like it.” he recalled.

Leaving school at 15 he first worked at a furniture shop in Great Yarmouth before being able to combine his painting of the Broads with working at Hunter’s boatyard at Ludham and later as a skipper at Broads Tours in Wroxham.

He said: “I was doing it on a part-time basis for many years and I must admit looking back some of my early works were pretty dire. But people started helping and advising me and eventually I plucked up enough courage to start holding exhibitions.”

Winter evening, Turf Fen by artist David Dane.Winter evening, Turf Fen by artist David Dane.

Exhibitions at the Assembly House, Norwich Theatre Royal and Mandells Gallery on Elm Hill were followed by a huge show as part of the Broads 2000 exhibition at Ranworth.

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Many of his artworks were created at the heart of the Broads in a studio on an old converted lifeboat on Barton Broad.

Works by Broads artist David Dane sell all over the world.

 Picture: James BassWorks by Broads artist David Dane sell all over the world. Picture: James Bass

But from this isolated spot prints of his work have sold around the world, and his originals have fetched between about £2,000 and £7,000.

“Much to my astonishment my pictures began selling in Canada, China, America, Australia, all over the world,” he said.

“One of my prints called Romantic Mill, which features three Hunter yachts and the sun coming up behind a mill, has sold in its tens of thousands all over the world.”

Winter at Bure Cottage by David Dane.Winter at Bure Cottage by David Dane.

He plans to continue selling his work even though he will no longer be painting.

“I have had 40 years of a wonderful life and have been able to go out and spend so much time on the Broads exploring,” he said.

“I consider myself very fortunate. I’m 77 now and I feel it’s okay to hang up my brushes because I’ve achieved quite a lot.”

The Watcher by David DaneThe Watcher by David Dane

Early Morning Barton Broad by David DaneEarly Morning Barton Broad by David Dane


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