Nelson-inspired art at Time and Tide

STEPHEN PULLINGER Yarmouth's £4.7m Time and Tide Museum is celebrating the remarkable success of its first year with a major art exhibition, Open See.

STEPHEN PULLINGER

Yarmouth's £4.7m Time and Tide Museum is celebrating the remarkable success of its first year with a major art exhibition, Open See.

The display, inspired by the 200th anniversary of Nelson's victory at Trafalgar and focusing on the sea, will be opened by Suffolk artist Maggi Hambling on Monday evening, July 18. The exhibition will continue until December 11.

Ms Hambling, famed locally for her controversial shell sculpture on the beach at Aldeburgh, has contributed one of her own oil paintings, a powerful image of the North Sea.

The exhibition, part of SeaBritain 2005, a national celebration of the sea and maritime heritage, comes a year after Time and Tide opened in the Tower Curing Works, a converted fish curing factory in Blackfriars Road.

New figures show there were 35,000 visitors in the first 12 months - far exceeding the projection of 25,000.

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Maritime development officer James Steward said: “We were helped enormously by reaching the final shortlist of the Gulbenkian Prize for museum of the year, but visitor numbers are also testament to the quality of the museum.”

Around 50 art works will be on display in what is Time and Tide's third temporary exhibition.

The earliest include a dramatic 17th century seascape from the Dutch school of painting, and a 19th century work by Miles Edmund Cotman, of the Norwich School of painters.

Contemporary work includes photographic studies from students at Great Yarmouth College, East Norfolk Sixth Form College, Gorleston, and Norwich School of Art and Design. Local high school pupils have contributed paintings.

Mr Steward said: “Not many museums are prepared to show such a diverse range of artworks in the same gallery.

“Unsurprisingly for the location, beach and coast scenes dominate. The sea has always been a source of artistic inspiration.

“It was at Yarmouth that JMW Turner allegedly tied himself to the mast of a fishing smack to capture the dramatic sensation of being at sea, for a preliminary sketch.”

Each artist has written an accompanying text, Ms Hambling writing: “In November 2003 I began painting the North Sea again. The challenge of responding in oil paint to its many changes of rhythm, light and colour is a continuing obsession.”

The exhibition is linked with a number of family events during the summer including the Big Weave, a collaborative tapestry project asking visitors to weave on to a fishing net. It will run on July 24 and 31, August 21 and 30 and September 4 from noon until 4.30pm.

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