Grâce à l'appui financier du programme européen INTERREG IV "Norman connections" qui associe quelques collectivités territoriales normandes (France) à leurs voisines anglaises d'outre-manche autour de la valorisation touristique et scientifique de l'extraordinaire patrimoine anglo-normand, nos amis Anglais organisent tout l'été jusqu'en mars 2014, une magnifique exposition au château normand de Norwich (Norfolk) consacrée au dessinateur et aquarelliste John Sell COTMAN  (1782 - 1842), né à Norwich et qui fut l'un des tous premiers peintres à faire de la Normandie au début du XIXe siècle la destination privilégiée du tourisme culturel et patrimonial en tant que berceau de la civilisation anglaise...

L'imposant donjon carré normand du château musée de Norwich qui accueille l'exposition Cotman et une vue surprenante de l'abbatiale de St Georges de Bocherville dans les années 1820 avant sa restauration ultérieure...


Vue du parvis de l'église Notre-Dame à Alençon...


A lire ci-après en anglais...

Two Art Exhibitions Explore Norman Connections at Norwich Castle

John Sell Cotman watercolour

John Sell Cotman watercolour

From Saturday 30th March, visitors to Norwich Castle will be treated to a visual feast celebrating the stunning Norman heritage of Norfolk and Normandy.

Norfolk has a vast heritage of architecture, and a significant part of that heritage is Norman. Standing in great fortresses like Norwich Castle, Castle Rising and Castle Acre, it is easy to sense the total domination of the Normans, of the absolute power which flooded into Norfolk from every estuary.

Norwich Castle is now staging two concurrent exhibitions inspired by that power: John Sell Cotman: A Picturesque Tour of Norfolk and Normandy and Gerard Stamp: Conquest. Together they present rarely seen drawings, watercolours and prints by one of Britain’s most outstanding artists plus new work by a contemporary master of architectural watercolour.

John Sell Cotman’s active career spanned four decades, from his beginnings in London around 1800 to 1841. The middle two decades, from around 1811 until 1830 or so, were devoted almost exclusively to architecture, rather than to landscape. Cotman spent several years scouring the county of Norfolk, drawing virtually every church, castle and secular building of note.

These were followed by three tours of Normandy, in 1817, 1818 and 1820. His mission was to understand the architecture of the province, but he was also captivated by the variety of the landscapes he journeyed through: broad river valleys, rugged coasts, quiet leafy groves, vast rocky outcrops.

Cotman talked about producing a series of landscape prints in 1820, to make up a ‘Picturesque Tour of Normandy’. He never began the prints but kept the preliminary drawings. Norwich Castle owns the largest collection of these studies now in existence; they are displayed here as a group for the very first time, together with rarely-seen drawings, watercolours and prints of Norfolk and Normandy subjects.

According to the 20th-century curator and critic Laurence Binyon, Cotman “was unrivalled as a draughtsman of architecture”. This exhibition demonstrates that his approach to drawing buildings was much more than that of a mere copyist. His watercolours, drawings and prints are technically astonishing in their clarity, detail and accuracy, as well as visually captivating, atmospheric and entirely original.

Gerard Stamp's watercolour Castle Acre shadows II

Gerard Stamp’s watercolour Castle Acre shadows II

Gerard Stamp went to school under the shadow of Norwich Cathedral. During those years he developed a passion for painting and drawing mediaeval buildings, as well as a love of John Sell Cotman’s work. Ancient architecture was all around, and Cotman’s drawings, watercolours, paintings and prints could be studied at Norwich Castle. Originally more interested in Cotman’s draughtsmanship, Stamp collected his etchings of Norfolk antiquities. Later he started admiring the effortless poetry of the Norwich School artist’s watercolour washes, learning from his technique and finding his own painting ‘voice’ in the process.

Stamp has painted and sketched many of Norfolk’s Norman buildings before. For this exhibition he was asked to revisit and interpret them anew: the result is a series of stunning views of some of Norfolk’s architectural gems which, in their timelessness, complement Cotman’s earlier interpretation. These new works are available for sale.

“Gerard Stamp turns architecture into art,” wrote Simon Jenkins in the introduction to his 2008 exhibition Mediaeval in Burnham Market’s Grapevine Gallery. “He converts stone and brick, light and shadow, the tilt of a roof and the line of a wall into a living, exhilarating picture.”

Together these two exhibitions offer a unique opportunity to explore the continuing impact of our Norman past.

Barry Stone, Cabinet Member for Cultural Services at Norfolk County Council commented on the exhibitions by saying: “We are extremely pleased to be able to host these exhibitions at such a fitting site as Norwich Castle. Norfolk has a long and important association with Norman heritage and I very much hope that the exhibitions will be a popular attraction to both local people and tourists visiting the county.”

John Sell Cotman: A picturesque tour of Norfolk and Normandy 30 March 2013 – 16 March 2014

Gerard Stamp: Conquest Norfolk’s Norman legacy reflected in watercolour 30 March – 29 September 2013

Commentaire de Florestan:

Le projet "Norman connections" rassemble en Normandie, les villes de Bayeux, Caen et Falaise, le conseil général du Calvados et le conseil régional de Basse-Normandie... Il manque beaucoup de monde du côté normand! Le conseil régional de Haute-Normandie ne veut pas participer au projet en tant que tel mais gère le financement européen du projet: cette finasserie de mauvais aloi devient vraiment lassante!!!