Today we explore another piece of literature inspired by the East. The Nine Tailors is a 1934 mystery novel by British writer Dorothy L. Sayers, her ninth featuring sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey.
The fens serves as the backdrop for this story, after the principal character Wimsey is stranded in the village of Fenchurch St. Paul on New Year’s Eve after a car accident. What follows is a tale of hidden heirlooms, murder and mystery.
To celebrate its long relationship with both the arts and the sciences, Ipswich Museum showed a specially-commissioned contemporary art installation called Art/Science/Life in February 2016. Artist Lucy Lyons worked in residence to create a new site-specific artwork inspired by the significant Natural Science collections, which were displayed in the atmospheric Octagon gallery of the former Art School.
Based at Acme Studios in North London, Dr Lyon’s practice uses drawing as research and has exhibited internationally. She has worked in several medical museums, and coordinates a performance and visual art research group at the Nordic Summer University in Denmark.
Alongside the new work, there were creative responses from partner organisations Pacitti Company and New Wolsey Theatre, as well as Lisa Temple-Cox, Ipswich Museum’s Artist Ranger. The exhibition was accompanied by a programme of events and workshops for both adults and children.
The exhibition also provided a ‘Drawing Room’ in one of the small galleries, which offered a selection of museum objects from the stores as inspiration and a range of drawing materials to work with. Visitors to the exhibition were invited to use this space to draw and display their work, so the gallery will slowly fill with artwork over the course of the exhibition.
This exciting new commission was funded as part of Ipswich Museum’s Happening on High Street programme funded by Arts Council England Grants for the Arts.
The Southwold Angel was found on top of a cupboard during recent restoration work at St Edmund’s Church. It was carved from a single piece of locally sourced English oak and was originally positioned against a wall, supporting one of the posts that helped spread the load of the roof. The shape of the base matches some of the stone corbels in the north aisle of St Edmund’s Church, which is where it must once have sat.
Over time, the angel has suffered the ravages of the deathwatch beetle, and was probably removed from its original location during repairs to the aisle roofs in the mid-19th century. Now on loan to Southwold Museum, it is a rare survivor of pre-Reformation English carving, on public view for the first time in centuries.
For more information, and to see the Southwold Angel up close, visit Southwold Museum.
The East is filled with Anglo-Saxon history. A fine example is this Anglo-Saxon glass, discovered in a grave during building work in Westgarth Gardens, Bury St Edmunds.
This object is evidence of Anglo-Saxon trade, as glass was not produced in Britain at this time. Glass was produced abroad, imported and traded by travelling merchants. This beaker was probably produced in a glass workshop in France, Belgium or Germany. As glass vessels like this one were both rare and costly, we can infer that its Anglo-Saxon owner would have been of high status.
Cone beakers may well have been used at feasts. Their conical design would have fuelled the Anglo-Saxons’ love of drinking: in the absence of a flat base on which to rest the beaker, you would have had to down your drink in one, before resting the beaker upside down on its rim.
In February 2016, Weird Séance: Dyspraxe 2 (Max Dyspraxe!) exploded onto the stage at Norwich Arts Centre.
A raucously deconstructionist, roughly layered participatory performance about participatory performance, this unabashedly irreverent gathering was hosted by charlatan spiritualist and performance art reconstructionist Daniel Oliver.
Not too long before, in the very same space as this event, and in a similar show hosted by Daniel, something went fatally wrong. Working with audience interaction, role-play and re-enactment, Daniel cobbles together the details, responsibilities, and causes of this elusive tragic accident.
Weird Séance was part of Norwich Art Centre’s [Live] Art Club strand of events. Find out more about Norwich Arts Centre.
Is Live Art your thing? See what else is on, and plan a trip with Visit Norwich.
Photo: Daniel Oliver, ‘Weird Séance, SPILL Festival of Performance 2014, photo by Guido Mencari.
In February 2016, Aldeburgh-based theatre company Wonderful Beast held a fundraising event to raise vital funds for its forthcoming festival, Storm of Stories.
Bottom’s Dream was a variety show inspired by Shakespeare’s fairy tales and audiences were delighted by comedy, fairy tales, Shakespeare, music hall, drag, sketches, songs, poems and ballet presented by a stellar cast and hosted by Iestyn Edwards as Madame Galina.
Alys Kihl, Artistic Director, said before the event: ‘I’m very excited about Bottom’s Dream, which will be an extraordinary performance featuring a wide range of talented and distinguished artists and I’m thrilled that they are supporting our cause: a family friendly festival with storytelling at its heart.’
The performance took place at Jubilee Hall. Find out more about the theatre company at Wonderful Beast.
Norwich is a city of dragons; from Snap and the guild of St George, to Dragon Hall and 2015’s GoGoDragons. In Spring 2016, visitors to Norwich Castle were able to see how the city was keeping up this tradition with an exciting exhibition; ‘A Viking’s Guide to Deadly Dragons.’
Inspired by Cressida Cowell’s hugely popular children’s book series ‘How to Train Your Dragon’, visitors were transported to a world where Vikings rule and dragons roam. They also had the opportunity to meet Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third and Toothless, his hunting dragon, before joining this unlikely hero on his adventures with a tribe of Hairy Hooligans, as well as visiting the Hooligan village and the wild dragon cave.
Explore the author’s imagination through her notebooks and original illustrations, get involved in creative play, dress as a Viking and discover real Viking objects in the permanent gallery at Norwich Castle Museum.
‘A Viking’s Guide to Deadly Dragons’ was created by Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books and ran in Norwich from 6th February until 30th May 2016.
Part of Norwich Puppet Theatre’s Manipulate Visual Theatre Festival in 2016, Birdheart explored transformation, loneliness and the urge to fly.
Through a series of animated images created in front of the audience’s eyes with a sheet of brown paper, shadows and a box of sand, Birdheart creates something achingly beautiful from the humblest of beginnings.
The two performers, Julian Crouch and Saskia Lane, weren’t new to the stage either. Currently represented on Broadway with his Tony-nominated scenic design for Hedwig and the Angry Inch, the world-renowned theatre designer, director and puppet-maker Crouch has wowed audiences with work at New York’s Met Opera and the West End. Lane has appeared with artists as diverse as Jay-Z and Beyonce, Marc Ribot and the Kronos Quartet.
Birdheart marked their first project together as puppeteers and performers.
Written in 1962 by Henry Treece, Man With A Sword is a young-adult historical novel that tells the story of Hereward the Wake.
Hereward the Wake was an 11th-century leader of local resistance to the Norman conquest of England. Hereward’s base, when leading the rebellion against the Norman rulers. He roamed The Fens, covering North Cambridgeshire, Southern Lincolnshire and West Norfolk, leading popular opposition to William the Conqueror.
Treece was a prolific writer of childrens’ historical fiction, and published over 50 novels and collections of poems over his career. This novel is now out of print, but it’s possible to find copies on various online shops.
Explore the land that Hereward the Wake roamed with a trip to The Fens.
If you want to make a weekend of it, plan a trip with Visit Norfolk.
This fine silver tankard, nicknamed the Godfrey Tankard, sits amid Sudbury’s regalia in the town’s Heritage Centre.
Made in 1676 it celebrated the public services of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey during the Great Plague and Fire of London. Dramatic scenes of both events are engraved on the sides. It was given to Sudbury by Sir Gervase Elwes as a ‘sweetener’ to win the favour of the Corporation – it must have influenced the return of both Sir Gervase and his son as Members of Parliament for Sudbury in 1679.
Often referred to as the Sudbury ‘Loving Cup’ it was used in a very unloving manner after the Mayor’s banquet in 1895. During an angry dispute over the distribution of staff tips the hall-keeper struck the caterer over the head with the cup giving it a large dent (subsequently beaten out). The hall-keeper was dismissed with a week’s notice.