Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Sir Alfred and the Wensum

Ring to Cost canoe 0811 130 cr

SOMETIMES this blog works perfectly – if you’re patient. It’s eight months since I took this picture as I kayaked down the river Wensum from Ringland to Costessey. It was a beautiful day and there was a decent photo everywhere you looked. I was quite pleased with this one: a freshly painted gypsy wagon, now serving as a summer house in the garden of one of Costessey’s many riverside properties. (Why do pictures taken on the river always look better for something small but man-made on the far bank?)

Anyway Sara Waterson from the Sir Alfred Munnings Museum Facebook page has been in touch to say could she use it on her site. Sir Alfred, for those who don’t know, was one of the most famous English painters of the first half of the 20th century. He excelled in painting horses but started off life as a commercial graphic artist. He’s a big part of my Costessey chapter and you can see my full entry here.

This photo is of use to Sara because Munnings loved the countryside around Ringland and Costessey. And he knocked around with the gypsies who wandered this area too, so it has a nice “back to the future” feel for her. But look what she has provided in return.

Munnings from mus2

This is Munnings himself on the left of the picture with friends ..on the Wensum at Costessey. The perfect picture to tie a great artist to my river. Now I’ve just got to persuade her to let me include it in the book as well as this blog.

* The Munnings Museum, is at Dedham in err, Constable Country. It’s excellent. I’ve used it as a picturesque service station off the A12 when coming back up from London.


  1. During his time painting the Ringland Gypsies 1910-12, Munnings became very friendly with Dr James MG Bremner in whose stable loft he set up a small studio. This and a few other photos were donated by Mrs Vera Varney, the great-niece of Dr Bremner, whose mother and her cousin (Mrs GG) can be seen in them - the ladies were on a visit to Dr Bremner at the time and enjoyed many outings with Munnings and his friends. There's a fascinating account in the artist's memoir of his time among the Ringland gypsies. One of the photos shows him painting a pony in the courtyard of the Bush Inn

  2. I'm sure Steve you'll be able to use any of the Wensum photos you like in your book, but you'll need to apply to the Curator at the Museum for copyright clearance (as would anyone wanting to use their material for any purpose).

  3. Hi Steve - been madly busy, but I finally got the album started! Enjoy...

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