Congham Hall Hotel launches new guide featuring local arts highlights

Ruth Gallop and Nicholas Dickinson of Congham Hall Hotel with one of the sculptures on display there.
Ruth Gallop and Nicholas Dickinson of Congham Hall Hotel with one of the sculptures on display there.

Congham Hall Hotel has launched a new guide for visitors enabling them to discover some of the county’s rich and diverse artwork.

Six of the Best, Norfolk Art Experiences, free to download from the hotel’s website, is the latest initiative by the hotel to encourage guests to explore North and West Norfolk using the hotel as a base.

A 'crochetdermy' deer, which is one of the exhibits on display at the Norfolk by Design exhibition at Houghton Hall.

A 'crochetdermy' deer, which is one of the exhibits on display at the Norfolk by Design exhibition at Houghton Hall.

Congham Hall owners Nicholas Dickinson and Ruth Gallop are themselves art enthusiasts and have amassed an impressive collection of paintings and sculptures for guests to enjoy throughout the hotel.

Nicholas said: “Our hotel isn’t just a great place to stay, it’s a gateway to this wonderful area. We created this guide to share the extraordinary art treasures available on our doorstep for guests to enjoy at their own pace.”

Congham Hall is one of the six destinations included in the guide and a highlight for this year is work by Essex-based wood-carving sculptor Stephen Henderson. His work includes birds, fish and spring hares, which are on display around the hotel.

Visitors will also find works by Norfolk artist Rachel Lockwood, landscape artist Debbie Scott and Fred Ingrams, who is inspired by the Fens, among many others.

Said Nicholas: “When we bought the hotel in 2012, we were keen to find a local artist who we could work with. A year later we were introduced to Fred who lent us his pictures, and we fell in love with them, but they were so popular that it was hard to refuse to sell them. However those on display today are ours.”

Fred Ingrams’s work is also on display at Norfolk By Design, a pop-up exhibition at Houghton Hall, and featured in the Six of the Best guide.

The exhibition showcases the work of more than 40 local artists and craftspeople. The stately home is the venue for this year’s major art exhibition Earth Sky by Turner Prize winning artist Richard Long.

Exhibits in Norfolk By Design include paintings in oils, acrylics and watercolours, photographs, textile sculptures, furniture, handcrafted jewellery, ceramics, shell art and bronzes.

Lynn’s GroundWork gallery in Purfleet Street is also featured in the guide, which points out that it is the UK’s first gallery dedicated to art and the environment. It was opened last year by Veronica Sekules, formerly of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art in Norwich and is home to an artwork by Richard Long, who used mud from the River Great Ouse for his creation.

Other places of interest suggested in Six of the Best are the Peter Coke Shell Gallery in Sheringham, where more than 200 pieces of his shell art can be seen; The Gunton Arms near Thorpe Market, a pub where pieces by names such as Tracey Emin, Lucien Freud and Damien Hirst can be viewed; and The Old Skating Rink Gallery in Bethel Street, Norwich, which features decorative furnishings, clothing and arts and crafts from South Asia.