Explore Norfolk Trails

Walking in Artists’ Footsteps

Norfolk Trails have been working with the Time and Tide museum in Great Yarmouth to offer two walks in conjunction with their ‘Water Ways: Art and Nature on the Broads’ exhibition to help visitors explore the sites painted by the artists.

waterways

You can pick up the walks leaflet at the Time and Tide Museum or download a PDF copy here.

The exhibition is running to 12th April 2015 but you can walk the two trails and admire the views any time.

In this post Alison Fisher, Exhibitions Coordinator for Great Yarmouth Museums, talks about the exhibition and the artists’ sites you will come across on the walks.

“The distinct landscapes which have made the Norfolk Broads world famous have also made the area a rich source of inspiration, relaxation and enjoyment for artists, naturalists and holiday-makers alike. Time and Tide’s exhibition Water Ways: Art and Nature on the Broads celebrates the extraordinary natural environment of the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads through the eyes of artists and naturalists who have lived or worked in the region.

 

When I started work on the exhibition, I was really keen that we didn’t just show our visitors what these places used to look like, but rather used it as an opportunity to explore what’s unique and special about the Broads. But some of what’s special about the Broads can only be experienced by getting out there and exploring the landscape for yourself and I wanted to remind visitors to the exhibition that the paintings depict real places, not just figments of the artists’ imaginations. With this in mind, I got in touch with the Norfolk Trails team and wondered if there was any way we could work together to encourage our visitors to take a trip to some of these sites.

 

Luckily, they thought this was a good idea too.  Between us, we developed a walks leaflet with the aim of encouraging visitors to the exhibition to follow in the footsteps of some of the artists who have taken inspiration from the Broads.  We selected two sites featured in the paintings on show: Breydon Water (on Wherryman’s Way), on the edge of Great Yarmouth, and Potter Heigham ( on Weavers’ Way), not far from Hickling in the heart of the Broads.

 

Potter Heigham is home to one of the oldest bridges in the Broads, thought to have been built around 1385.  It was painted in 1876 by Charles Harmony Harrison – you can still find the exact spot that Harrison painted this scene from today.

Potter Heigham Bridge, Charles Harmony Harrison. Watercolour, 1876 © Norfolk Museums Service (Great Yarmouth Museums)

Potter Heigham Bridge, Charles Harmony Harrison. Watercolour, 1876
© Norfolk Museums Service (Great Yarmouth Museums)

 

Harrison was born in Great Yarmouth’s Row 33 in January 1842.  After he left school, he was apprenticed to a local builder as a sign-writer and decorator. However, by 1875 he was working as a full-time artist.  He was close friends with fellow artist Stephen John Batchelder, and the two men would sail the Broads together on sketching trips, often staying in an old houseboat previously used by eel catchers (the museum collections even have some of the postcards from these trips that Harrison sent home to his wife).

 

Breydon Water, Great Yarmouth’s estuary, is best known as a stopping-off point for migrating birds. When the tide is out at Breydon, mudflats are exposed three miles long and up to a mile wide.  The exhibition features a few depictions of it by different artists:  the earliest on show is by Frederick Sandys, painted in the 1870s; the latest painted almost a hundred years later by Edward Seago.  At various points in between, it was sketched by Arthur Patterson.

Breydon Water, Arthur Henry Patterson Pen and ink, 1923 © Norfolk Museums Service (Great Yarmouth Museums)

Breydon Water, Arthur Henry Patterson
Pen and ink, 1923
© Norfolk Museums Service (Great Yarmouth Museums)

 

Born in the Yarmouth Rows, Patterson became interested in nature as a child and would spend much of his spare time at Breydon Water exploring the plants and animals there.  As an adult, he was a prolific writer and penned more than 30 books, not only on the Broads but on topics as diverse as the care of pet monkeys and the life of artist Charles Harmony Harrison.  In 1896 he adopted the penname ‘John Knowlittle’, and wrote a long-running and popular series of local news articles for the Great Yarmouth Mercury and Eastern Daily Press, which included regular nature notes and almost a thousand cartoons.

 

If you’re planning your Easter holiday activities, there’s still time to come and see the exhibition – it’s on display until 12 April.  And you might be inspired to pick up a walks leaflet to get out into the Broads and follow in the artists’ footsteps yourself…”

 

Find out more about Time and Tide museum and the Water Ways exhibition   Read the Water Ways Exhibition blog

Discover more trails on our Norfolk Trails website.

 

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