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"Romantic Landscape: The Norwich School of Painters, 1803-1833"
2000-03-24 until 2000-09-14
Tate Britian
London, , UK

British artists have rarely demonstrated strong regional identities. Historically, they have gravitated towards London. But in the early nineteenth century a few cities emerged as centres of visual culture in their own right. One of them was Norwich, the county capital of Norfolk. From 1805 to 1833, exhibitions of living artists were among the entertainments of the city's Assize Week. Organised by the pioneering Norwich Society of Artists, they showed the work of painters who have come to be known as the Norwich School.

This group was strong but diverse. It was described as a school only because its leaders, John Crome and John Sell Cotman, operated in Norwich as teachers and drawing masters. Neither their own work, nor that of their pupils, displays a common style, though the artists established close personal and family links. While they concentrated for long periods on Norfolk scenery and life, they also visited and painted Wales and the Lake District, the Netherlands and northern France. They formed strong connections with colleagues at a national level, exhibited and sometimes lived in London, and were often at the forefront of contemporary artistic theory and taste. Even when regionally based, they were never provincial in outlook.

While challenging the traditional mythology of a School united by style and local subject matter, this exhibition explores broader links by showing leading Norwich artists near Constable, Turner and other contemporary landscape painters. At its core is a distinguished group of paintings and works on paper from the Russell J Colman and Jeremiah J Colman Bequests to the Norwich Castle Museum, generously loaned to Tate Britain in the exceptional circumstances of the Museum's closure for refurbishment this year.

IMAGE:
John Sell Cotman, 1782-1842
The Abbatial House of the Abbey of St Ouen at Rouen NULL1824
Norfolk Museums Service(Norwich Castle Museum)


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