Sketching in Norwich

Norwich describes itself as “A Fine City”. Indeed it is. The city centre streets are clean, car-free, and lined with a huge variety of shops, restaurants, and service providers such as key-cutters and barbers. All very interesting. And there’s a lovely river too.

The City of Norwich website tells me: “On 17 July 1967, London Street became the first shopping street in the UK to be pedestrianised. It started a revolution that saw people given priority over traffic in city centres.”

This building stands in London Street, at the junction with St Andrews Hill. It was designed by FCR Palmer for the National Provincial Bank, and was completed in 1925 [1]. The National Provincial became NatWest after a series of mergers and takeovers. NatWest moved out in 2017.

“Cosy Club” 45-51 London St, Norwich NR2 1AG, 19th June 2022 12:15, in Sketchbook 12

I also sketched Norwich Cathedral, from the Cathedral Close.

Certainly a fine city, and one to which I hope to return.

Note 1: History of the London Street bank building from the Norwich Society website:

Sketching in Norwich

Norwich is two hours from London on the train.

I tried sketching the landscape as it went by:

These were tiny drawings, each about 2 inches by 3inches.

Here is the inside of Norwich Cathedral.


The picture shows the Norman nave of the cathedral. This building was started in 1096 and took about 50 years to build. The stone comes from Caen, in France, and was shaped there. It is a cladding. The structure is mortar and flint. One of the pillars in the picture has a spiral pattern on it, and is matched by another spiral one on the other side. But on the other side the spiral cladding doesn’t go up to the top, as though they ran out of the special stones. I wondered if these spiral stones are used elsewhere, or if they are still waiting at Caen. Or did someone make a mistake in their arithmetic?

I learned from the guide, Mark Hill, that a bishop is in charge of a diocese, not the cathedral. The Dean is in charge of the cathedral. The bishop has a special seat called a cathedra, which is to the right of the choir, and separate from it. And the Bishop’s seat has a hugely ornate covering.

At the Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia, there was an exhibition of sculpture by Elizabeth Frink.

I sketched her warrior figures which are called “Riace”:

They had slightly strange proportions, rather short legs and wide shoulders. All are greater than life size. There were about 5 or 6 of them, and they seemed to be moving.

Elizabeth Frink (1930-1993) was a British sculptor and printmaker. Whenever I walk through Paternoster Square I say hello to her sculpture there: The Paternoster. It shows a shepherd and his sheep. When I first moved here, this sculpture was temporarily in the Barbican, next to the Museum of London. It was at ground level, so children used to climb on the sheep and hold onto their ears. The ears were bright and shiny. When the Paternoster Square renovation was complete (2003), the statue was moved back. But it is on a high plinth, so inaccessible. I think that’s a pity. I don’t think the Paternoster minded children riding his sheep.

The shepherd and his sheep, Paternoster Square, 2012.



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