The Norfolk fisherman John Craske, born in 1881, fell ill and spent time in hospital and Thorpe Mental Asylum in early adulthood, before being released into the care of his wife Laura. By way of reducing his ‘stupors’ – which could last up to three years at a time – she gave him the means to paint and taught him to stitch, and so a lifetime of extraordinary creation began.
Craske created hundreds of pieces depicting seascapes, fishing and boats, and was informally sponsored by the poet Valentine Ackland and her partner, the writer Sylvia Townsend Warner, who bought a great deal of his work and encouraged their circle to do the same. Benjamin Britten was a fan, as was John Betjeman.
It’s for his intricately stitched pieces – often from memory or imagination – that Craske is celebrated and his work can be found in galleries and collections including across Norfolk Museums Service and Aldeburgh Music.
To find out more about Craske’s Norfolk birthplace of Sheringham, explore http://www.visitnorthnorfolk.com/places-to-visit/seaside-villages/sheringham