(4) Revisiting Costessey in 1947.
Further quotations from "An Artists Life' by Sir Alfred Munnings K.C.V.O.
the summer of 1947 I had been given the great honour of receiving
the freedom of the City of Norwich. On the following day I
to those old haunts, passing through the embowered lane to stand again
on the familiar ground where long ago, on that April day, I had arrived
on horseback, and long before that, on a bicycle.
Little did I dream in those far-off days that I should ever receive the freedom of the city where I was then living..................Over the valley the Taverham woodlands were unaltered, the gorse in bloom around me scenting the air, the song of skylarks above.
These arrivals at a particular, well-loved spot where I have been accustomed to wander at different periods of my life, each separated by years of work and play in other places, have given me strange, inexplicable moments of gladness and regret.
Memories of many other things and events, and of the far-away Boer War, lay between the ride on horseback and cycling jaunts from Norwich six years before. Since that ride from Swainsthorpe two world wars had happened, and a thousand other things, before I again found myself at those places, getting out of the car hired from the Maid's Head in june 1947.
The Falcon was no longer the same. It had lost its simplicity and domestic bliss. Mr Lyons, the landlord with bowler hat and mutton chop-whiskers, was long dead, and the Jerningham Mansion (where a Lord Stafford had lived) was razed to the ground, and bungalows were everywhere.
A man I was seeking --- Drake --- had been loyal to his haunts, had settled down in a quiet back lane near the river and was no longer a caravan dweller. Here I sat with him and heard his story of the years between. He told me that Shrimp had married, grown a beard and nobody knew where he was, but he believed he had been killed by a bomb --- a strange and sudden end for such a wild, uncivilised primitive. "
Click here and see what became of 'Shrimp
Munnings' autobiography shows that throughout his life he had a strong to his painting haunts at Costessey and Ringland. His prose captures a feeling of delight in the beauty of this pleasant rural setting right on the edge of Norwich. As a youth I knew so well the scenes that Munnings describes many times I experienced similar feelings while roaming the fields, rivers and woods of my native village. Having lived away from Costessey for fifty years, these web-pages, I suppose, are an expression of a nostalgia for a long gone time. I hope in writing them some others might share in those same feelings. As a boy I can remember my father telling me that Munnings had painted a picture of a horse on the light wooden surface of a newly erected gate near Ringland Hills. It may be just a figment of my imagination to say that I saw it.
IF ANYONE IS INTERESTED IN THE FULL STORY OF SIR ALFRED MUNNINGS READ :-
"AN ARTIST'S LIFE " BY SIR ALFRED MUNNINGS, MUSEUM PRESS LTD., LONDON 1950.
AND FOR HIS PAINTINGS
"SIR ALFRED MUNNINGS 1878 - 1959" STANLEY BOOTH SOTHEBY PARKE BERNET PUBLICATIONS 1978. ISBN.85667 043X
to.......... Tom Barley's "COSTESSEY" Page.
Part Two. Costessey from 1555 to present day
Quotation from 'An Artist's Life' by Sir Alred Munnings K.C.V.O.
Museum Press Ltd. 1950