Tuesday, 22 August 2017


Since first showing Fiona French’s paintings at Grapevine in Norwich in 2003, we have hosted four further exhibitions of her work, and they now feature in a number of significant collections across the country.

Every one of her works is different and distinct, but all reflect her love of colour and all display consumate technical skill. Internationally known for her prize-winning book illustration – variously inspired by the organic lines of Art Nouveau, stained glass and subsequently by mosaic – her earlier paintings seemed to be, at least in part, her response to the world of op-art and illusion, where for a time she had been one of a small team of assistants working in Bridget Riley’s studio.

The work in this latest exhibition records a transition in both style and content, starting with further development of her exploration of texture and colour typified by Weave and Mother-of-Pearl, through Lark Ascending and Daffodil to the inspiration of lights in the deep ocean of Primordial arriving at the realism of Stody Gardens and Sheringham Pines.

Fiona has never been one to explain her work, choosing not to constrain the free flight of our perception, but this new collection reveals a new direction in her thinking.  The most recent paintings in this exhibition are far removed from those of the early 2000’s – still characterised by verve and dynamicism – but now exploring the interaction of light and the natural world.

Transition opens on Friday 1st September at 6pm and runs until the 30th but with a closure mid-month from 14th to 18th inclusive

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Happy returns

There are good things happening all around if you care to look. In the last week two of our favourite pubs have re-emerged from periods of closure. Firstly, one of the best - the Hunworth Bell - opens its doors again this evening and this time in the safe hands of the team from the Duck at Stanhoe. A wonderful location and with a tradition of good food and drink serving a local community, the preview last night confirmed that all the stuff I remember from its previous life is still there, but with some good adjustments and the promise of some great food to come.

I understand that this is not meant be Duck 2, but building on its former reputation and learning from the Duck, offering a menu based around locally sourced ingredients with classic English dishes reflecting seasonality. If the preview night is anything to go by - the place humming with locals pleased to see their pub back as well as those who've followed the team in their progress round North Norfolk – it feels just right.

Secondly, and just a bit closer to home, I learnt last night from Claire and Nigel – the owners of The Control Tower, the wonderful and highly individual vegetarian B&B at the former North Creake RAF Airfield, that another one-off, The Three Horseshoes at Warham has just re-opened. Just serving drinks and barbecued food for the first couple of weeks, it should be back fully towards the end of the month. Always one of the truly individual pubs left in Norfolk, this really sounds like great news.

Which just leaves the Lord Nelson in Burnham Thorpe........