Art­smith: An­thony on piec­ing to­gether a Nor­folk art jig­saw

How a chance dis­cov­ery has brought a county artist’s name back into the lime­light

EDP Norfolk - - INSIDE -

You may re­mem­ber a while back I was dis­cussing the im­por­tance of and stim­u­la­tion for those of us in­volved in fine art when we are faced with ques­tions or is­sues con­cern­ing at­tri­bu­tion.

At the time, I had high­lighted a work that I had pur­chased many years ago, a Ba­li­nese tem­ple scene at night whose cre­ator I hadn’t been able to ac­cu­rately at­tribute the work to. Well, sadly, I am still in the same sit­u­a­tion, but re­cently a dis­cov­ery, very close to home has high­lighted the sim­ple joy and sat­is­fac­tion of be­ing able to iden­tify an artist whose works were un­signed, unattributed or in­cor­rectly at­trib­uted.

This dis­cov­ery and yes, it IS a dis­cov­ery, oc­curred dur­ing the re­search for and se­lec­tion of works for the ex­hi­bi­tion Drawn to the Coast: Turner, Con­sta­ble, Cot­man at Time and Tide Mu­seum in Great Yar­mouth.

As al­ways hap­pens with dis­cov­er­ies, it was com­pletely un­ex­pected and this one is due to the keen eye of Liz Ward, who has given her time for the last five years as a vol­un­teer cat­a­loguer of the mu­seum’s art col­lec­tion, pre­vi­ously work­ing as a lo­cal stud­ies li­brar­ian in

Great Yar­mouth.

Liz, whilst work­ing in the Works on Pa­per col­lec­tion, as part of the Com­mu­nity Cu­ra­tor vol­un­teers, no­ticed as she was dig­i­tal­is­ing each in­di­vid­ual item that there had been er­rors made in the 1960s in re­gard to at­tri­bu­tion. Works that had pre­vi­ously been at­trib­uted to other artists were in fact works by the ac­claimed Nor­folk artist Joseph Stan­nard (1797 – 1830), a prom­i­nent mem­ber of the Nor­wich School.

As Liz said “I had re­moved the mount on a work to pho­to­graph it and saw Stan­nard’s name in the cor­ner. I was cu­ri­ous to know more about it, espe­cially with the up­com­ing Drawn to the Coast ex­hi­bi­tion and de­cided to check its record.

“It was then that I no­ticed that the art­work had not been as­signed or at­trib­uted to an artist in its orig­i­nal en­try”.

Stan­nard’s short life be­lies his con­tri­bu­tion to the art of our re­gion. At 14 he ex­hib­ited a work with the Nor­wich So­ci­ety of Artists (1811) and through­out his life, pro­duced works of qual­ity and orig­i­nal­ity, even though he was highly in­flu­enced by Dutch artists.

He pro­duced nu­mer­ous etch­ings, some now re-at­trib­uted to him by Liz’s re­cent dis­cov­ery. Th­ese works are of­ten quite in­ti­mate land­scapes, gen­tle in their over­all feel, with cou­ples, or fig­ures, walk­ing in the woods or along a for­est path or a lone fish­er­man in his punt shel­ter­ing from the sum­mer sun un­der the branches of trees along the river bank. They are images that also tell us about our his­tory and that of our county.

But not all of Joseph Stan­nard’s works were on a small scale. To fully ap­pre­ci­ate the qual­ity of his work, look no fur­ther than Thorpe Wa­ter Frolic, Af­ter­noon in the Nor­folk Mu­se­ums’ col­lec­tion. Sim­ply su­perb; a mas­ter­work.

So why is at­tri­bu­tion im­por­tant? It’s the sat­is­fac­tion of plac­ing the pieces in the jig­saw puz­zle to­gether and get­ting the fi­nal pic­ture and it gives the artist his/her dues. Its sim­ply right­ing a wrong, an un­in­ten­tional wrong and that is as it should be. “Drawn to the Coast: Turner, Con­sta­ble and Cot­man” (and Stan­nard!) at the Time and Tide Mu­seum in Great Yar­mouth ends on Septem­ber 9. In two words: see it!

What’s on in Septem­ber?

First, please do try to catch the ex­hi­bi­tion fea­tured above.

Also, at Man­dell’s Gallery, An­thony Ge­orge’s ex­hi­bi­tion opens on Septem­ber 8. An­thony’s silkscreens are in­spired by his man­ual work at the Bri­tish Antarc­tic Sur­vey and although our ini­tial re­ac­tion is that they are ab­stract, they are in fact min­i­mal­ist land­scapes of the Antarc­tic. Magic. asmith@asart.com

ABOVE:Liz Ward and Ni­cole Hud­son study­ing the Stan­nards

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