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Artist finds rare Norwich painting in US auction

New York art dealer Sarah Kershaw, originally from Norfolk, found this painting of All Saints Church in the USA.

New York art dealer Sarah Kershaw, originally from Norfolk, found this painting of All Saints Church in the USA.

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A Norfolk-born New York art dealer has discovered a painting of one of the city's landmarks while searching through America's small-town auctions.

All Saints Church, Westlegate in Norwich as it looks today, compared to the painting of the church found in the USA. Photo: Denise Bradley.

Former Norwich High School pupil Sarah Kershaw was trawling auctions along the east coast of America looking for artistic gems when she recognised some familiar scenery.

The painting she had stumbled across was of Westlegate Street, focusing on All Saints Church, and is signed by an ‘F Marsh’.

The 31-year-old, who grew up in Reepham, bought the painting as a reminder of home and now she is trying to find out more about how it came to rest in the USA and who painted it.

“I bought it for entirely sentimental reasons,” Mrs Kershaw explained. “I am an art dealer and cover hundreds of small auctions on the East Coast of America, in the search for art treasure. I found the painting in one of the weekly sales at an auction house in Copake, which is in upstate New York.

"It is highly unusual for a painting to be found so far from home."

New York art dealer Sarah Kershaw

“It was without its frame and I couldn’t get any further provenance information from the auction house. It is highly unusual for a painting to be found so far from home – this, alongside the look of the painting, leads me to believe that it is probably by an American artist and was perhaps passed down through an estate or something along those lines.”

Mrs Kershaw and her husband moved to New York in 2007, living in the Chelsea area of the famous city, but still come home to Norfolk regularly to see family.

She is now hoping somebody back in her home county can help to reveal some information about the painting, which she believes was created in the early 20th century.

“The artist does not appear to be listed anywhere in England, so I believe the artist was American and possibly visiting Norwich at the time,” she continued.

“I contacted All Saints church but they didn’t have any further information in their archives and did not know of the existence of the work. I wondered if any locals might know something about it?

“At present I cannot even date it very accurately so any information would be much appreciated. The painting depicts Westlegate Street, in what I think is the morning. It is richly painted with close brushwork and the canvas is complete.

“The palette looks American I think, English paintings tend to have a more muted palette. It is a very accomplished work.”

Anyone who can shed any light on Mrs Kershaw’s find can email her on sarah@kershawmatthews.com or contact our reporter David Freezer on 01603 772418 or on email at
david.freezer@archant.co.uk

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