Proposal for the self-directed project – Revisiting the Norwich School
The text below is from my Project Proposal, a link to the full proposal can be found at the bottom of this page.
The Norwich School of Artists is the name given to a group of mainly landscape painters who were active at the beginning of the 19th century. In this project I propose to revisit and photograph some of the scenes painted by members of the Norwich School.
In an earlier History of Art module for this course I produced a critical review on the Norwich School of painters, looking in detail at paintings by John Crome and John Sell Cotman. I thoroughly enjoyed researching their work and saw many of their paintings at Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery as well as visiting local auction houses and galleries to see work by many members of the School. This project would, therefore, have a special appeal to me.
I will select a number of sites that feature in paintings, or prints, made by Norwich School artists and produce a landscape photograph of that site today. The aim is not to try to replicate the scene painted in the 1800s, but to use it as the starting point.
Green in Bottinelli (2013 p11) writes that Norwich School artists, principally landscape painters, “recorded their immediate surroundings” something which was a new approach as the prevailing method was to produce idealised landscapes. Instead the Norwich School painters aimed to portray the scene “as it was”. This view is reinforced by Allthorpe Guyton (2004 p2) who states that “The significance of Norwich School painting lies in a realism based on direct observation”. The artists also enhanced what they saw by “adding a variety of light and colour” (Kennedy Scott 1998 p8).
In my photographs I will try to reflect these values of the Norwich School painters, using locations painted by them I will produce images of how these sites are used in the City today, giving a contemporary view and observing the lighting and colour of the scene. Bottinelli (2013 p59) believes that the artists “captured the life and look of the City of Norwich”, my intention is to do the same today, not postcard views of the city sights but my version of portraying the scene ‘as it is’.