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3D panorama of Norwich finds life-long home at city hotel

PUBLISHED: 16:09 24 October 2019 | UPDATED: 16:09 24 October 2019

The Norwich society acquired the panorama in 2016 to save and restore the panel. Picture: Contribyted by Paul Dickson

The Norwich society acquired the panorama in 2016 to save and restore the panel. Picture: Contribyted by Paul Dickson

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A three-dimensional panorama of Norwich has found its permanent home at a city hotel.

The three-dimensional panel depicts the view of Norwich from St James Hill. Picture: Paul DicksonThe three-dimensional panel depicts the view of Norwich from St James Hill. Picture: Paul Dickson

The Maids Head Hotel in Tombland has acquired the 2.5m by 1.5 metre panel which is now displayed next to the entrance to its restaurant.

The artwork, created by John Moray-Smith, shows the view of Norwich from St James Hill and was commissioned by Morgans Brewery for the Cock Inn on King Street in the mid 1940s.

Following the inn's closure in the 1970s, the panel was moved to Caistor Hall Hotel where it was damaged and placed into storage in 2010.

The Norwich Society bought the panel in 2016, and with the support of the Paul Bassham charitable trust, the John Jarrold Trust and the Norwich Heritage Fund, it was restored.

Andrew Lee, maintenance manager and Steve Bruce maintenance technician at the hotel who were responsible for its installation. Picture: Paul DicksonAndrew Lee, maintenance manager and Steve Bruce maintenance technician at the hotel who were responsible for its installation. Picture: Paul Dickson

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Paul Burall, chair of trustees for the Norwich Society, said: "Having rescued John Moray-Smith's wonderful panorama of Norwich from being abandoned in a garage, we are now delighted that the Maid's Head is providing a home where the public can admire this 1940s view of the city.

"It is the only work by this eccentric artist portraying the city during his lifetime and therefore is an interesting contrast to his other works that are on public view that depict scenes from previous centuries."

Tom Humphrey, who restored the panorama, said: "The basic restoration work was very similar to that I use for any painting, although I minimised the use of liquids, as even solvents could damage the plaster of Paris used by Moray-Smith to build up the work. I did not want to over restore the picture so have left areas of thin paint to retain authenticity.

"Moray-Smith's work is very interesting. He was clearly an experimenter and didn't follow any set rules, making it up as he went along. The panorama is a fascinating work of art and I think that the public will enjoy seeing it."

John Moray-Smith worked in Norwich from the early 1930s until his death in 1958, he installed three-dimensional panels on the interiors and exteriors of pubs in Norfolk.

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