Show of landscapes hidden from view for four decades
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016
Visitors to a Norwich art gallery can enjoy a collection of paintings of East Anglian landscapes hidden from public view for decades.
The paintings – by artists Cavendish Morton, Charles Duranty, Geoffrey Lefever and Nicholas Barnham in the early stages of their careers – were acquired by a collector called Richard Cory-Smith at the Thackeray Gallery in Kensington, London, in the 1970s, and the new exhibition at Crome Gallery in Elm Hill is thought to be the first time they have been on show since then.
Called When They Were Young – an East Anglian Retrospective, the show features about 60 paintings and many had never even been framed before.
Among them are views of Dersingham and north-west Norfolk by Mr Lefever, Snape Maltings and the River Alde in Suffolk by Mr Morton, imagined East Anglian landscapes by Mr Duranty and villages in Cambridgeshire by Mr Barnham.
Robert Eagle, of London-based Robert Eagle Fine Art, organised the exhibition and is also keen to know more about the man who collected them.
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'All of the works here, except some recent ones by Geoffrey Lefever and Nicholas Barnham, have a rather extraordinary history – all were painted between 1969 and 1971 and all of them were bought by an astonishing maverick collector who remains something of mystery.
Mr Cory-Smith had more paintings than he could possibly show and he put them in folios and stashed them away. The pleasure for him was collecting.'
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Mr Eagle said the collector later asked a friend to look after them when he went to Scotland and that she had stored them in her attic until recently.
About seeing some of his early paintings for the first time in decades, Mr Lefever, who now lives near Aylsham, said: 'It is nice to see them again after all these years. It's amazing – the sort of thing that would happen once in a lifetime maybe.'
Mr Lefever and Mr Barnham, who now lives in Wells, are also exhibiting more recent work.
Mr Barnham's recent work, with its strong line and delicate tones, is remarkably similar to his pictures from the early 1970s.
Meanwhile, Mr Lefever's recent paintings, which are abstract compositions created using sand, straw, acrylic and ash, could hardly be more different from his impressionistic watercolour landscapes of north west Norfolk from 40 years ago.
The exhibition at the Crome Gallery, in Elm Hill, Norwich, runs until May 14.
Anybody with details about Mr Cory-Smith can contact Mr Eagle via www.roberteaglefineart.com
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