Wild Norfolk

IAN COLLINS Wandering around Wild Norfolk - a fund-raising art show for the Norfolk Wildlife Trust - I sensed the spirit of Peter Scott.

IAN COLLINS

The Assembly House, Norwich

Wandering around Wild Norfolk - a fund-raising art show for the Norfolk Wildlife Trust - I sensed the spirit of Peter Scott.

Several painters pay tribute to the artist-naturalist and every last one of the 30 exhibitors basks in his favourite subjects.

In 1933, Scott famously leased East Lighthouse, where the Nene enters the Wash, and there perfected his art while evolving from wildfowler to conservationist.

If he were to return to Norfolk today the evidence of these pictures, sculptures and photographs is that he would be astonished.

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Besides so much alteration and ruination, the Norfolk Wildlife Trust now manages 3,500 hectares of habitat and has 25,000 members. It guards a dazzling wild diversity.

Photos of Horsey by Survival lensman John Buxton capture families of avocets and cranes among the harriers, egrets and bitterns. Spoonbills now visit regularly, and purple herons occasionally.

We always dwell on losses. Here's proof of gains.

Self-taught artist Steve Cale and veterans Adrian Taunton, Colin Burns and David Dane revel in surviving wilderness. Renowned illustrator Robert Gillmor evokes avian portraits in stylishly stylised linocuts.

I left haunted by the imagery of farmer-photographer Chris Knights - by the magic of great crested grebes, weed dancing, and damsel flies like a troupe of exotic dancers.

Most of all by a moorhen making off with an avocet egg. That's the nature of the wild.

Wt ild Norfolk is at the Assembly House until November 11. Open Monday to Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 11am-3pm.

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