More Heritage Open Days larks

In which I follow a grand mediaeval illumination tradition, but certainly not in miniature…

One of the historical characters you could meet if you were following my Heritage Hunt map was Anne Marchand, a Norman woman from the late 1200s. By then Norwich was bustling with trade and wealthy folk, and Anne was one of them, a merchant dealing with European contacts.
Her place on the Hunt trail was to be in the middle of The Forum atrium, in all it’s Saturday hustle & bustle.

The-Forum-Norwich-by-Jim-KavanaghHistorically thats pretty good positioning – this part of the city was The French Quarter, where the Norman incomers had settled on ground overlooking their newly established Market. So Anne may well have had a fine, stone built house, within a stones throw of where she would really be on the day.
The Forum folk realised that she would need something extra to suggest she belonged to the late 1200s, and asked if I could make a backdrop image, something to suggest the Norman city of that time. It would be printed on three 1m x 2m panels, so would be a decent size.
Well, after all these years of reading, researching and imagining what the city would look like in many different periods, I was just the fella to ask…

The Norman lady herself asked if I could make sure Norwich Castle keep was in the picture, as this would be part of what she talked about.
I decided to keep the composition simple – not a distracting vista of Norman Norwich, but a back drop for a presenter. The majority of it would be behind Anne and her props, but the Castle still needed to be easily visible and, crucially, instantly recognisable.

So I had the idea of a window, which would (a) say “Norman” by its unmistakable Romanesque architecture and (b) show the Castle in practically the same view as it really is from the Forum – no chance of anybody not knowing what that was supposed to be!
Of course it wasn’t just that easy – I had to make the battlements be more like the (conjectured) original ones, not the great chunky monsters placed there in the 19th century.  A picture, you see, can say a thousand words, but just as easily the wrong ones as the right ones.

To be really smarty-arty here, is there not also something familiar about the image of a wealthy mediaeval woman, sitting indoors, with rich architecture and a view through a window…? Those mediaeval illuminators loved the “window on the world” thing, so why not.
Veni, Vidi, I Copied…


Heritage Open Days and a darn tricky little job…

From 7-10 September, The Fine City of Norwich will be busy as a bag of frogs.
People will be running around historic buildings, gasping with wonder at the fascinating past which has been hidden in plain sight before their very eyes.
Because it will be Heritage Open Days!

An annual celebration of local history, where a vast number of places open freely to all to explore and discover that multi faceted mirror to our lives we call The Past.
I’m pleased to say a lot of these people will get the benefit of my latest bit of graphic work, ahem, when they follow The Norwich Heritage Hunt.
I have designed, illustrated and written the leaflet, which will guide them from The Forum to the Cathedral, on a short walk taking in five places where they can meet costumed characters with a strong connection to those locations.

Its A4, introduction and information on one side, and this specially created street map on the other.
I must say, this map has been quite a job. It has to be simple and clear to lead everyone safely, both local folk and strangers, through the streets of the busy city centre.  There are small, important details which not even all the locals know, such as the tiny St John’s Alley, which goes actually underneath a church tower.


Sir Thomas Erpingham, he led the English archers at Agincourt

And which of the magnificent gates into the Cathedral Close is the Erpingham Gate – choose the wrong one and you will miss meeting the great Sir Thomas himself.

So I had to think carefully what streets to leave out, and what useful landmarks to squeeze in, without it getting too busy.
And I had to suggest a fun element, give you some idea of what to expect, by showing the characters. But fitting them in around the street guide – tricky!  Needless to say, it isn’t to any actual scale, c’est impossible!

The Hunt should be fun; for example you can find
Elizabeth Sotherton, a Mediaeval merchant wife, in St Peter Hungate Church.  Living nearby, she would have known it well.  Her hubby is an important man in the city, but she is absolutely minted from her own business dealings, let alone his.


Will Kempe

You can meet Will Kempe, Shakespeare’s most well known comedy actor, at the Maddermarket Theatre.  Though by rights he should be a bit puffed, having just danced all the way from London to Norwich in just nine days.  He finished the dance (done for a bet, so its said) just about where the Theatre is today.

Its being printed now, this is the front fold.  I can’t wait to see it, and more importantly hear about whether it works for people!   After all, not even most locals are Norwich history nerds like moi…