Keen artist, and lover of Norfolk, James Bucknill, dies at the age of 87.

PUBLISHED: 13:04 16 May 2015 | UPDATED: 13:04 16 May 2015

North Norfolk artist James Bucknill, who has died

North Norfolk artist James Bucknill, who has died


North Norfolk artist James Bucknill has died, aged 87.

A watercolour of Sheringham by James BucknillA watercolour of Sheringham by James Bucknill

He will be remembered as a gifted watercolourist who captured the county’s landscape, skies and shaded lanes.

He also founded the Binham Guild of Artists, which has inspired many in the area – rooted in farming north Norfolk – to cultivate a creative life.

Mr Bucknill enjoyed a life-long love affair with drawing and painting. He made his first drawing when he was just five years old – a picture of some gnomes and a toadstool.

More than 80 years later he wrote in a book celebrating his life and work: “I still find painting a joy and inspiration.”

In the intervening years he developed a successful career – first in advertising, then as an art teacher and college lecturer. All the time he was sketching and painting, his work was exhibited in London, Cambridge and elsewhere and sold to many private collectors

His skill as a painter brought him a wide circle of admirers. His kindness gave him a place in the hearts of those he taught and encouraged.

He grew up in London, where he was born into a family of lawyers and clergymen. He liked to say he was the one that got away, enrolling at St Martin’s School of Art after military service in occupied Germany. He worked in advertising before becoming a college lecturer in Rotherham.

He came to Binham after buying the old village blacksmith’s forge in 1983, which he set about restoring to become his home and workplace. He was soon happily at work here, drawing and painting his way across Norfolk: on the coast, in pubs and cafés, beside streams and in quiet lanes. He had a passion for trees and the county’s vast skies, which he carefully recorded in his sketchbooks for future use.

Mr Bucknill founded the Binham Guild in February, 2000. It continues to bring together every week around two dozen people working in a variety of different disciplines and materials.

The group holds a summer exhibition each year.

He is survived by his widow Peggy, a fellow artist. They married nine years ago, when she was 77, and he was 78. He leaves twin children by his first marriage, five grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.

The Binham Guild will hold its annual exhibition in Binham Memorial Hall from August 22 to 25.

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