Yarmouth College lecturer’s Gainsborough exhibition

It is quite literally a cider bottles-and-all view of our cherished landscapes.

Mark Edwards' unerring lens did not stray from the trademark blue bottles, regretfully now an omnipresent feature of our countryside, when he captured a river scene near Bungay.

And it is such candour that has earned the Norfolk college lecturer a prestigious exhibition at the Holburne Museum of Art in Bath - displaying six of his contemporary landscape photographs alongside the immortal works of 18th century English artist Thomas Gainsborough.

Mark, 45, who teaches photography degree students at University Campus Suffolk's site at Great Yarmouth College, said: 'The exhibition represents the biggest re-appraisal of Gainsborough's work in 40 years with paintings and drawings being brought together from collections all over the world.

'The aim of it is to contrast my contemporary approach to landscapes with Gainsborough's traditional approach.'

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Ahead of the exhibition - The View From Here - opening on September 24, Mark has been further lifted by news that his work has gone on show in an even more exalted place - 10 Downing Street.

He said: 'I was commissioned to do six photographs depicting the counties in the East of England for the Government art collection in 2002.

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'Now I have just been informed by phone that two of them, scenes of a rural track in Suffolk and the marshes at Haddiscoe, have been chosen to go on display in 10 Downing Street.'

Mark, who is married with a 15-year-old daughter, was given a brief by the Holburne Museum to capture contemporary scenes around East Anglia and the West Country - both areas where Gainsborough worked - and he quite literally went on the trail of inspiration.

A keen member of Norwich Road Runners, he found suitable scenes to photograph - 'places normally overlooked, where countryside meets the urban landscape' - during training runs.

Scenes depicted in his giant 5ft by 4ft photographs for the exhibition include a paddock view in Ditchingham and a view near his home in Poringland near Norwich.

Mimicking Gainsborough's fondness for the viewbox - a painting on glass lit up from behind - he has printed one photograph on a giant transparency illuminated from behind.

Mark, whose work has a growing international reputation, will take part in a seminar on different approaches to landscape photography on October 13 as part of the exhibition; the event will take the form of a discussion also involving international photographer Don McCullin.

The Holburne Museum has been collecting fine art over the last 120 years and is renowned for its collection of British paintings - most notably those of Turner and Gainsborough.

The exhibition will run until mid-January.

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