Restored Moray-Smith panorama of Norwich’s skyline goes on display at the Forum

The restored Moray-Smith artwork.

The restored Moray-Smith artwork. - Credit: Archant

It has taken a steady hand, a lot of patience and more than eight weeks of hard work to complete.

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But now, a 2.5m panorama of Norwich's skyline by the late John Moray-Smith has been restored back to its former glory.

And it has today gone on display at the Forum for everyone to see.

The artwork - commissioned in the mid-1940s - was rescued by the Norwich Society last October after it was discovered in an old stable block.

It had suffered damage to the plaster work and was covered in dust having been kept in storage for around six years.

From left, Tom Humphrey and Paul Burall, with the painting.

From left, Tom Humphrey and Paul Burall, with the painting. - Credit: Archant


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Conservator Tom Humphrey, from the Fairhurst Gallery on Bedford Street, said it took him around 100 hours to restore.

The 34-year-old said: 'I have restored lots of paintings and various plaster works, but nothing quite like this.

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'He [Moray-Smith] was an experimental artist and so the kind of techniques he used, you can't be taught. He was a very talented guy.'

Mr Humphrey said he had to repair a missing section of the cathedral's spire and 'touch up' areas with oil paint.

Members of the norwich Society complete the purchase of a Moray-Smith panorama of Norwich from Caist

Members of the norwich Society complete the purchase of a Moray-Smith panorama of Norwich from Caistor Hall. Trevor Child, transport, Roger Connah, committee member, Chairman Jonathan Hooton and administrator John Litster.

It was initially thought that the viewpoint for the Norwich Panorama was from St James' Hill, close to the prison and the Mottram memorial.

But due to the number of landmarks included, it has been suggested that Mr Moray-Smith worked from several photographs taken from different positions.

Whilst the work will be on display at the Forum until April 1, the Norwich Society is still looking to find a more permanent home for the piece.

Paul Burall, who is on the organisation's executive committee, said: 'This is our next challenge. We have various ideas as to where we would like to see it, but if people have any other ideas, we would like hear from them.

Image taken from St James Hill Norwich. Photo by Peter Dent.

Image taken from St James Hill Norwich. Photo by Peter Dent. - Credit: citizenside.com

'We want somewhere that has a big enough wall and is easily accessible for the public. It would be nice if it could stay in the Forum, but whether that is possible, we don't know.'

The artwork, which features 143 landmarks, spent part of its life at the Cock Inn, on King Street, next door to ITV Anglia's offices.

It was later moved to the bar area of Caistor Hall Hotel, south of Norwich, but was put into storage following a renovation.

Other artwork by Mr Moray-Smith, who died at the West Norwich Hospital in 1958, can be seen across the city.

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