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King Lynn's Festival features restored picture of Lady Fermoy

King’s Lynn Festival’s visual arts tradition matches the high quality of its music programme – and this year is no exception.

Past Times, New Horizons celebrates the festival’s 70th anniversary by showcasing the work of a selection of artists whose work has been displayed over the years.

One highlight is the recently-restored portrait of festival founder, and grandmother to Diana, Princess of Wales, Ruth Lady Fermoy, which was painted in 1954 by Anthony Devas.

Alison Croose with the painting of Lady Fermoy. (49219691)
Alison Croose with the painting of Lady Fermoy. (49219691)

The exhibition also provides a striking reminder of the many world-famous names who have taken part in the festival over the years.

Photographic portraits which used to hang on the staircase in the Guildhall - including Benjamin Britten, Dame Sybil Thorndike and Kathleen Ferrier - have been restored, and thanks to the generosity of Sir Ian McKellen they will continue to be a reminder of the festival’s illustrious history.

Artists whose work is featured in the Fermoy Gallery and Red Barn at St George’s Guildhall Courtyard include Edward Seago, Harry Barr, Hugh Casson, Duncan Grant, Alfred Cohen and Ana Maria Pacheco. Among contemporary artists. whose work is featured are Ivy Smith, Jon Harris and Hazel Burgess. Works encompass the mediums of painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, print-making and glass. Some works are for sale.

Festival board member Lady Jane Fellowes, grand-daughter of festival founder Ruth, Lady Fermoy, undertook the task of bringing together works of art for the landmark 70th exhibition with professional curator, Dr Claudia Milburn.

“Our initial plan was to bring together works representing seven disciplines and the festival’s seven decades, but we discovered a great wealth of exciting and interesting material with an extraordinary history. As a result, there will be more than 100 works on display,” Lady Jane said.

“They celebrate the history of the festival exhibitions which have been remarkable for their huge variety. This display has been made possible by an extraordinary network of connections. We have had no difficulty filling the space,” Lady Jane said.

She is especially pleased to be able to include Elisabeth Frink’s sculpture of Lord Zuckerman who lived in Norfolk and was an avid supporter of the festival.

Having spent hours with such a variety of splendid pictures and artefacts what are their favourites? Lady Jane is fascinated by Diane Griffiths Book of Salt, and Claudia’s is Hugh Casson’s charming hand-made concertina-style sketch book on India which opens out to show an array of pages. They agree that works of art on show have diverse characteristics - from stunning and serious to amusing and playful.

The exhibition opens on Sundy and continues until August 14 from 11am-4pm. Admission is free. It will be closed on Monday August 2 and 9.

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