High Profile for Low Relief Work

Ever since we published a booklet by Alec Hartley about the ‘very
public artist’ John Moray-Smith in 2007, the Norwich Society has
taken an interest in the preservation of his bas-relief plaques that
decorated Morgan brewery pubs.
The most well-known one is probably the Prince of Denmark,
Sprowston Road, because it takes up a large part of the end wall
and shows Prince William in colourful costume astride a rearing
white horse. Fortunately this one is repainted by the licensee.
Last year members of the Society saved the panels in The
Woolpack on Golden Ball Street from an ignominious relegation
to a storeroom or worse when the interior was redecorated.
Opportune intervention by Mary and Chris Ash was followed by
discussion with the designer and as a result the panels showing
the history of the wool trade have been re-hung.
This year the Society paid for the renovation and repainting by
the Fairhurst Gallery of the low relief picture of St Stephen’s Gate
that hangs on the wall of The Coachmakers Arms on St Stephen’s
Road just south of the roundabout. The bright colours are true to
the original and provide an eye-catching feature at the entrance
to Norwich.
The Society has received excellent publicity from Archant, Radio
Norfolk and ITV about the search for missing plaques from The
Men of March pub, Cambridgeshire, and for any other information
about the artist and his work. A number of people have contacted
the office and provided interesting information. One important
plaque that we thought had been lost has been rediscovered. Paul
Burall, chairman of the Strategic Policy and Transport Committee,
is producing a new booklet about John Moray-Smith, a singular
artist whose work is so particular to the City and county. We hope
to publish it next year.
Vicky Manthorpe