'Is this a wind up?' - Artist's shock as Delia buys 101 of his paintings
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
When Dereham artist Nick Chinnery began painting a watercolour of a Norwich landmark on each day of the last lockdown, he never imagined his work would be bought by Delia Smith to hang at the city’s football club.
But after this newspaper reported on how Mr Chinnery had brought joy to the ‘Secret Norwich’ Facebook group with his beautiful paintings, ITV Anglia picked up the story, and beamed it onto the television of the celebrity chef and joint majority shareholder of Norwich City FC.
“I got a phone call the very next morning and had a chat,” said Mr Chinnery
“I tried to take that in, because the sheer enormity of it is like: ‘Wow, does that really happen?’”
The phone call seemed too good to be true at first.
“I rang them back and said: ‘Are you winding me up? Tell me this isn’t a wind up,’ and it wasn’t,” said the artist.
The set of 101 paintings now hang at the club’s Yellows Bar & Grill.
“I thought the story was wonderful,” said Delia.
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“A painting for every day of lockdown I thought was quite historic really, because that will be remembered won’t it, in the future - that there was this empty city and a painting was done every day.”
She added: “I just thought he was so talented - the colour, the detail, they just leap out at you.
“We’re very proud and honoured to be able to have them here."
She said the paintings had helped shape her own view of the city.
“I don’t live in Norwich, so for me, I don’t think I saw the real beauty of it until I’d seen all these pictures.
“I’ve been to Elm Hill, all the famous bits... [but] I didn’t realise quite how incredible this city is. Looking at these pictures, it is amazing."
She added that the watercolours had a clear historical precedent too.
“I did a little bit of reading about it, and it seems like East Anglia was the centre of art, in medieval times, in the whole country.
“I suppose because it was a very buzzy city with it being the closest to Europe, everything coming by sea.
“I just think, here we are again. It’s still a little art centre, isn’t it?”