Spirit of Place Norfolk


All England may be carved out of Norfolk. Here are fens and heaths, and light and deep, and sand and clay-ground, and meadows and pasture, and arable and woody...so grateful is this shire with the variety thereof

From History of the Worthies of England, 1662 by the English churchman and historian Thomas Fuller

A corner of England unlike any other

David Dimbleby A Picture of Britain, BBC 2005



This research project by art historian Catherine Mason is considering the work of contemporary artists in North Norfolk who focus their gaze on the uniquely beautiful sea, sky and landscapes of this part of the British Isles.

Spirit of Place is mapping professional artists living and working in North Norfolk* who use landscape as the major feature in their work. It is an attempt to understand better the genus of the place, its heart, its core, by an examination of the art work produced by the artists who are rooted in this place.

ARTWORK of the Month:

As a former veterinary surgeon, Judith Ellis has an innate fascination with birds and the natural world. Above is Swifts over Houghton Hall, a page from one of her Birdflight series of artist books, made to commission. Each image is hand painted on folded paper to create a type of sculptural book based on an accordion. Judith is also the author of TWO POINTS EAST: A View of Maritime Norfolk. This highly-recommended, charming book combines her life-long interest in boats, birds and the Norfolk Coast. The artist has a number of exhibitions coming up this year - watch her website for details: http://thebookstudio.co.uk/


Histories of the Norwich school, the specific history of the Norfolk & Norwich Art Circle, a general publication on Art in East Anglia and various individual monographs of Norfolk artists have been published, however not until Spirit of Place has there been a comprehensive survey undertaken of contemporary landscape art in the North Norfolk region at the beginning of the 21st-Century.

To learn more about the project, please see here

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* For the purposes of Spirit of Place, the parameters of North Norfolk are as defined from Hunstanton in the West to Cromer in the East and inland to Fakenham and Aylsham. This encompasses parts (but not all) of West Norfolk and North Norfolk District Councils. It does not include the Broads or Norwich-based artists.


Charity Affiliation:

It is planned to publish Spirit of Place as a book with a percentage of sales benefiting local charities Homes for Wells and the Norfolk Wildlife Trust (NWT).

Homes for WellsHomes for Wells aims to support the local community by providing housing for local people, keyworkers and their families who, due to low wages, need help to find housing. Because of the increasing popularity of the town for retirement and second homes, house prices have risen at such a rate that many locals are unable to afford to buy property in the town and are being forced to live elsewhere. If people cannot afford housing locally they will move, leaving essential services affected.

Norfolk Wildlife TrustThe NWT is the oldest of a national network of wildlife trusts.

Cley marshes
The four hundred acres of Cley Marshes were purchased by Dr Sydney Long in 1926. Long went on to found the Norfolk Wildlife Trust with Cley becoming the Trust's first nature reserve. For generations this site has enjoyed a worldwide reputation as a superb site for watching birds, among them the allusive Bittern.  See me interviewed in this new film created by the NWT for the Cley Marshes Appeal,  shown at the Forum, Norwich.