Exercise 4.6: Proposal for the self-directed project

*****  Following comment from my tutor I have revised my proposal for the self-directed project. The revised proposal (Self-directed project – amended version) can be seen here .


Revisiting the Norwich School


The Norwich School of Artists is the name given to a group of artists, mainly landscape painters, who were active at the beginning of the 19th century. The two best known members were John Crome and John Sell Cotman. Their paintings “were in a low-key realist manner inspired by Norfolk landscape and the life of the Norfolk Broads and rivers” (Tate [s.d.]). In this project I propose to revisit and photograph some of the scenes painted by members of the Norwich School.

In an earlier History of Art module for this course I produced a critical review on the Norwich School of painters, looking at their work in general, but also looking in detail at paintings by John Crome and John Sell Cotman. I thoroughly enjoyed researching their work and saw many of their paintings at Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery. I have also visited local auction sales to view Norwich School lots, even buying a couple of etchings in the process (the History of Art module have given me the knowledge and confidence to do so). This project would, therefore, have a special appeal to me.


I will select a number of sites that feature in paintings, or prints, made by Norwich School artists and produce a landscape photograph of that site today. The aim is not to try to replicate the scene painted in the 1800s, but imply to use that as the starting point; I would then decide how to produce the photograph. I would aim to produce around ten final images.


I envisage the process being undertaken in four stages.

Stage 1. In the Appendix below I have listed a number of paintings featuring local scenes. I will visit the sites and select around ten to photograph. On that visit I will also decide on the equipment needed for each site and the best time of day/weather conditions to photograph the scene. This is likely to take around two weeks.

Stage 2. During this period I will be taking the photographs at the chosen sites. Depending on weather conditions, this will take four to six weeks.

Stage 3. This stage involves the processing of the final images and will take about two weeks

Stage 4. This is the production of the hard copies of the final work. I envisage the final product being a photobook which on one page shows the original Norwich School image and on the facing page shows my contemporary interpretation of the landscape at that location.


The main costs at stages 1-3 will be travel expenses. The costs of stage 4 will relate to the production of the photobook. I envisage this to be a personal project, were the book to be made public then significant printing and copyright fees could be involved. This would be researched during the project.


479 words


Appendix 1: List of sites painted by Norwich School Artists


Site Artist 
Norwich Cathedral David Hodgson
Briton Arms, Elm Hill Henry Ninham
Yarmouth Sands Joseph Stannard
Haymarket John Thirtle
Mousehold Heath John Crome
Fye Bridge, Norwich John Thirtle
Norwich Market Place John Sell Cotman
Bishops Bridge, Norwich John Sell Cotman
Carrow Bridge James Stark
The River at Thorpe Joseph Stannard
Wymondham Church John Sell Cotman
Norwich River Afternoon John Crome
New Mills John Crome
The Yare at Thorpe John Crome
Whitlingham E T Daniell
Trowse Meadows George Vincent
The River Wensum John Crome
Bishop Bridge Norwich John Thirtle