173rd Norfolk and Norwich Art Circle exhibition

Emma Lee The prestigious Norfolk and Norwich Art Circle stages the 173rd exhibition in its history at Norwich Cathedral from today. EMMA LEE has had a sneak preview.

Emma Lee

From dramatic views of the Norfolk coastline in winter to stunningly realistic-looking still life paintings to quirky animal sculptures, the talents of the members of the prestigious Norfolk and Norwich Art Circle are being showcased in its 173rd exhibition.

Staged in the impressive and atmospheric setting of Norwich Cathedral, the exhibition is not only a chance to enjoy some of the very best art that the county has to offer, but to find out more about the art circle - and perhaps even join up yourself.

The history of the Norfolk and Norwich Art Circle can be traced back to 1885, and past members have included the distinguished names of Seago, Munnings and Arnesby Brown.

And in more recent times exhibitors have included Mary Newcombe, Pauline Plummer, Diane Branscombe, Campbell Mellon and Ian Houston.

The circle is open for anyone who has a practical interest in fine art. The initial rules set out in 1885 aimed “to bring together artists, amateurs and others interested in art, a centre where discussion may take place and to promote a knowledge of the fine arts”.

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Those aims have been maintained to this day and the circle offers a range of events roughly once a month which include lectures, demonstrations and sketching outings.

This is the 173rd exhibition given by the group and it shows the broad range of skills and interests of members. The name, Across the Spectrum, also hints at the array of subject matter their work explores.

Paintings range from watercolour and pastel to oil and mixed media as well as sculpture. And the artists find beauty everywhere - the themes painted range from allotment views, café life and a pair of old boots as well as our spectacular coastline.

The exhibition is also thought-provoking. Some artists also use their work to explore more controversial topics and world issues such as David Neale's Disappearing Norwich and Stuart Peebles's assessment of modern windfarms.

Paintings by Geoffrey Burrows and Keith Johnson, who have both exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, are ones to look out for.

Ann Houston's prancing hare sculpture, which seems ready to bound forward toward you, is a striking and memorable piece. And portraiture is represented by the striking painting of Bill by Keith Judge and the wide Norfolk skies by Martin Kinnear.

The exhibition is at Norwich Cathedral from today, June 10, until Sunday June 28. Anyone interested in joining the circle can find out more from the stewards on duty at the exhibition. Alternatively contact secretary Janet Harrison on 01603 424323.