COLOURS USED IN
Norwich School of of Landscape Painting
WORLDS TOP LANDSCAPES
OF VISUAL ART
WORLD'S BEST ARTISTS
WHAT IS ART?
The Norwich Society of Artists was started in 1803 by John Crome and his friend Robert Ladbrooke (1770-1842), as a club where local painters could meet to exchange ideas. The Society thrived and, in 1805, mounted its first public exhibition of members' works - mainly landscapes and marine paintings of the locality. This proved such a success that it was repeated almost every year until 1825. After a 3-year break caused by the demolition of the Society's premises, the society reopened in a new venue 3 years later, whereupon exhibitions continued until 1833.
The driving force behind the Norwich School was undoubtedly Crome who attracted many members until his death in 1821. The Presidency then went to Cotman who managed affairs until 1834 when he left Norwich to take up an arts Professorship at King's College School, London. The Society limped on during the 1830s before effectively disbanding.
The remaining landscape painters of the Norwich school are followers rather than original artists. Robert Ladbrooke, the friend and associate of 'Old Crome', was in no way his equal, nor was his son, John Bernay Crome (1794-1842). Miles Edmund Cotman (1811-58), also followed his father with no more success. A number of other members of the Cotman family were also artists, among whom JJ Cotman (c.1812-78) was the most original. The best of the remaining members were James Stark (1794-1859), George Vincent (1796-1831), John Thirtle (1777-1839), H Ninham (1793-1874), Joseph Stannard (1797-1830), Alfred Stannard (1806-89), and Thomas Lound (1802-61).
Why was Norwich the location for Britain's only regional painting school? Aside from the individual work of 'Old Crome' there's no clear answer to this, although the eastern counties have always been a fertile source of exceptional artistic talent ever since the East Anglian illuminators of the first half of the 14th century. Maybe the proximity of Flanders and Holland may explain this: certainly Thomas Gainsborough (1727-88), John Constable (1776-1837), and John Crome all drew inspiration from the naturalism of the Low Countries.
The Norwich School's unique achievement
was the production of a large body of landscape oils and watercolours,
painted largely in the open air by a comparatively small group of self-taught
working-class artists. This modest and relatively obscure school deserves
greater fame, not least because - like its French cousin the Barbizon
School - its subjects and style of working anticipate the coming of
landscape painting. Note also that an important reason for the Norwich
School's lack of fame, compared to that of (say) Constable and Turner,
is primarily due to lack of exposure. Most of their paintings were collected
by the local business tycoon J.J.Colman (Colman's Mustard), and thereafter
displayed at Norwich Castle Museum. This lack of exposure has proved a
major obstacle to the School's success. Had its works been showcased in
the UK's best art museums, it might have
been a different story.
Works by landscape painters of the Norwich School include the following:
John Sell Cotman