‘I always smile when I think of him’ - Artist’s tribute to Norwich eccentric Marigold


Marigold - Credit: Archant

Standing at the side of the road wearing rubber gloves and wellies, Marigold was one of Norwich's best-known characters.


Marigold - Credit: Archant

The eccentric, whose real name was Alvin Braithwaite, would direct traffic on the inner ring road and was nicknamed Marigold after his favourite gloves.

While he disappeared from his regular haunts in 1996, people still remember him – and he has now been immortalised in an oil painting.

Artist Lisa McIntyre, 48, moved to the Fine City in the 1980s and that is when she first saw Marigold.

She said that he left such a lasting impression that she decided to paint him.

An oil painting of Norwich character Marigold, by artist Lisa McIntyre.

An oil painting of Norwich character Marigold, by artist Lisa McIntyre. - Credit: Archant

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'I just thought it was amazing that this guy was doing that and nobody was bothered about him,' she explained. 'He was happy, the public were happy and he never got any hassle.

'I thought Norwich was a really tolerant place and you could get away with someone being a bit different,'

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She recalled that he could often be found at the bottom of Grapes Hill, and sometimes in Heigham Street.

'If you saw him at first you might think he was an official, but people would say 'that's Marigold',' she said. 'I always smile when I think of him.'

Barbados-born Mr Braithwaite lived in St Martin's House, Westwick Street for many years.

He last appeared in the news in 1998 when a Norwich sculptor revealed plans to build a roadside monument in his memory, after widespread rumours that he had passed away.

Days later Marigold, then aged 57, came forward to dispel those myths.

Speaking at the time, a spokesman for Norfolk Social Services said Marigold was touched that people wanted to remember him.

But the spokesman added: 'He doesn't think a memorial to him is entirely appropriate because it's a bit premature.'

Painter Ms McIntyre, who was born in Glasgow, is displaying her oil portrait of Marigold in an exhibition at St Margaret's Church of Art in St Benedicts Street.

The work of oils on plywood is around 36ins by 24ins in size, and is one of around half a dozen works Ms McIntyre is displaying.

Ten artists will be displaying work at the exhibition, which runs until October 25, from 10am to 4pm


To see more of Ms McIntyre's work, see www.saatchiart.com/allyssamac

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