13 sculptures that light up Norfolk and Waveney
PUBLISHED: 13:50 07 May 2017 | UPDATED: 10:14 08 May 2017
In towns across Norfolk and Waveney there is a wealth of visually-stunning, occasionally-controversial and often heart-warming works of public art.
by Tim Hunkin and Will Jackson
Made in three weeks in 1998, the Water Clock was designed as a temporary feature about water recycling and was sponsored by Thames Water. All the copper on the sculpture comes from old hot water cylinders and the water is pumped up to the top of the clock from the pond. It was originally this water that then powered the cheeky antics that happen on the half hour - the hands and pendulum are now powered electrically. The piece features eccentric characters including a bathing couple who squirt water at each other and “cheeky boys” who drop their trousers to pee.
2. Spirits of Lowestoft
by Charles Normandale
Station Square, Lowestoft
This landmark sculpture is created in mild and stainless steel and stands around eight metres tall. Five life-size, abstracted Bewick’s swans fly in from the sea on a stainless steel ‘wind’ structure. They represent migration, an elegance of spirit and form a tribute to Danish author Hans Christian Andersen’s story, The Wild Swans. The whole sculpture is illuminated from below at night.
3. Justice, possibly
by John Cheere
Butter Market Cross, Bungay
Installed in 1754, Justice has stood overlooking Bungay for more than 250 years. The statue was made in a London workshop, probably the one managed by Henry and John Cheere, and it is believed that she would have originally been unpainted. It has been said that her presence in the town’s market place was a reminder, not only that market traders should deal fairly with their customers, but also that suspected criminals imprisoned in the dungeon under the Butter Cross, or exposed to public ridicule in the stocks, should be justly treated. The statue is unusual in that it is believed to be one of only two in the country that does not have a blindfold - the other is at London’s Old Bailey.
4. The Wolf
by Jean Mulligan
When boy king Edmund waded ashore at Hunstanton to claim the kingdom of East Anglia in AD854 he didn’t realise that the Vikings also had their eye on the area. In 869, they attacked and Edmund and his forces engaged them near Diss. Edmund was tortured and it is said he was shot by many arrows before being beheaded by his captors. The head was thrown into the forest and days later his supporters found a huge wolf with St Edmund’s decapitated head at its paws. This carved, wooden wolf has been placed near the Hunstanton lighthouse, next to the ruins of a chapel built to mark the spot where Edmund first landed. The 4ft oak sculpture, created by Norfolk artist Jean Mulligan, shows a wolf with its head thrown back in a baying pose. The piece and the planting around it have been produced as part of Hunstanton’s Britain in Bloom campaign to highlight the town’s heritage.
5. Nelson’s Monument
by William Wilkins
Standing at more than 43 metres high and almost 190 years old, this unique landmark is a Grade I-listed building and the county’s memorial to Norfolk’s famous son. The seafront monument, in Fenner Road, was built between 1817 and 1819 to commemorate the Battle of the Nile and predates the well-known statue in Trafalgar Square, London. The monument is in the style of a Doric column, topped by six caryatid figures, and features a statue of Britannia atop a globe inscribed with the motto from Nelson’s coat of arms: Palmam Qui Meruit Ferat (‘Let him who has merited it take the palm’). Britannia holds an olive branch in her outstretched right hand, a trident in her left, and looks inland towards Burnham Thorpe in north Norfolk, Nelson’s birthplace. At the column’s base are inscriptions including one in Latin on the western front which reads: ‘This great man Norfolk boasts her own, not only as born there of a respectable family, and as there having received his early education, but her own also in talents, manners and mind.’ The top is reached by 217 steps, and is opened on occasions to the public.
6. Stock Fish Rack
by The British Artist Blacksmith Association
King’s Lynn, Norfolk
This unusual work of art is not only a reminder of the past history of the town but it also has a great sense of humour. It represents the drying racks used to process one of the biggest imports to King’s Lynn for centuries – dried fish. It stands beside Marriott’s Warehouse, facing onto the Great Ouse. The 10ft 5in (3.2m) steel sculpture on South Quay was commissioned by West Norfolk Council and created by the British Artist Blacksmith Association in collaboration. The sculpture came into being during the town’s first Hanse Festival in summer 2009 and as part of the celebrations, 150 blacksmiths congregated on the quay and created the fish racks. The artwork includes 176 pieces including oysters, fish, seaweed and even a mermaid’s bra. It also features a hungry seagull with its eye on the fish.
7. Captain George Vancouver
by Penelope Reeve
Purfleet Quay, King’s Lynn
Unveiled in 2000 by the Duke of Edinburgh, this bronze sculpture is a fitting tribute to the Lynn-born navigator, who sailed with Captain Cook and mapped the north-west seaboard of North America. The piece shows him holding a telescope and a scroll and stands on a plinth is of stone from the Pacific West Coast of Canada.
Trevor Heaton, Features Content Editor at the Eastern Daily Press, says: “It makes a perfect combination alongside the Great Ouse and the stunning Custom House, surely one of England’s most beautiful buildings. The statue came about after a campaign led by borough mayor and local historian Bryan Howling who was concerned that the town wasn’t honouring its famous explorer son enough. Well, it is now.”
by Mike Thody
Holt Country Park
This sculpture of a pregnant bear, carved from a fallen chestnut tree, was made by park volunteer and sculptor Mike Thody from nearby Hempstead. His wood craft is seen throughout the park - including Thol the Giant, an angel and a Fish Hut made from woven hazel branches. The mummy bear stands in the park’s sensory garden which is run by North Norfolk District Council. She was named Ursula by local children and a year after her unveiling in 2015, she was joined by a wooden baby bear called Bertie who is depicted reaching up to his mother.
Donna-Louise Bishop, chief reporter at the Eastern Daily Press, says: “Holt Country Park is home to some of the county’s most beautiful and memorable wooden sculptures. Some have even stood the test of time and have found a home there for decades. One of the more impressive structures is a painted wooden totem pole of different wildlife and people. Loved by adults and children alike, these sculptures make an enjoyable walk in the countryside truly magnificent.”
by Anne and Patrick Poirier
Hay Hill, Norwich
The realistic marble brain forms part of a piece commissioned by Norwich City Council as homage to Thomas Browne, a doctor and author whose fame earned him a knighthood when Charles II visited Norwich in 1671. Other parts of the piece, located in front of his statue on Hay Hill, include a marble eye and various seats and benches. Together they represent Browne’s life as a thinker and to his approach to philosophy, religion and science. Many of these pieces are inscribed with quotes from Sir Thomas using the original spelling and at night the sculptures are lit with coloured lights set in the ground and which are part of the artwork. The sculpture was unveiled in 2007.
10. Capt Mainwaring
by Sean Hedges-Quinn
Captain Mainwaring sits proudly on his bench in the town centre, eliciting many second glances and offering the perfect photo opportunity for tourists. The life-size bronze shows the Dad’s Army character, played by Arthur Lowe, in Home Guard uniform and sitting to attention on the bench in Thetford - the Norfolk town where many of the classic sitcom’s scenes were filmed. The sculpture was commissioned by the Dad’s Army Museum and unveiled in 2010 by the late David Croft.
11. Three x Another Time
by Antony Gormley University of East Anglia, Norwich
Anthony Gormley himself positioned the three life-sized, cast iron, human sculptures around the campus at UEA. They were selected from his ongoing series called Another Time, which has been presented in locations across the globe. The sculptures are placed at different focal points and sightlines, including roof level, at the university and aim to be thought-provoking and offer both spectacle and surprise. The installation builds on an existing sculpture trail which includes works by Henry Moore, Ian Tyson, Liliane Lijn and John Hoskin in the grounds of the Sainsbury Centre and the university campus. The figure poised on the edge of the library roof recently sparked controversy after claims it could be confused with a real person.
12. The Wish Tree
by Emma Jarvis
Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital
The Wish Tree stands in the centre of the hospital’s Chapel Garden courtyard, acting as a focal point for the garden and providing a view from the many windows that look out onto the space. The sculpture was designed by Emma Jarvis, the Hospital Arts Coordinator, and made by local blacksmiths at Fransham Forge. It was created using galvanised steel and at its base, features the words Faith, Hope and Love. The tranquil garden was funded by a charitable donation facilitated by Nick and Kim Brighouse and was created in memory of Kim’s late husband Stephen and her son Alexander Kirby who both died tragically following a fire in 1994. Kim volunteers at the hospital and realised how much a Chapel Garden would be valued and appreciated.
13. The Sculpture
by Bob Catchpole
North Lodge Park, Cromer
A sculpture made from old garden tools was unveiled in the Rose Garden at North Lodge Park recently after volunteers spent more than a year restoring the space. North Walsham sculptor Bob Catchpole heard of the work being done in the park and decided to contribute the centrepiece which he says resembles a bird but is also about how traditional tools can have a second use. Catchpole has been using agricultural tools in his sculpture for a substantial period of time. The strange, humorous and surreal world of objects and creatures draws on the agricultural heritage of his county, using tools as a metaphor for man’s relationship with his environment.