Hunt for missing pictures last seen in the Men of March pub

Picture last seen in the Men of March pub

Picture last seen in the Men of March pub - Credit: Archant

The hunt is on across the Fens for the missing works of a renowned artist – and you might find them in your local pub.

Plea to find pictures last seen in the Men of March pub in March

Plea to find pictures last seen in the Men of March pub in March - Credit: Archant

John Moray-Smith produced some extraordinary large three-dimensional plaques for pubs in and around the eastern region in the 1930s and 40s.

Picture last seen in the Men of March Pub

Picture last seen in the Men of March Pub - Credit: Archant

Three of his pieces were displayed in the former Men of March pub, now the Little London in Wisbech Road, and an art society is trying to track them down.

The local pieces were large plaques, one of which depicted the Roman occupation, the second a farm scene with a bull chasing a man and the third, a powerful illustration of a steam locomotive.

The Norwich Society is urging anyone who knows where the works are to contact them.

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Six years ago the Society produced a booklet about Mr Moray-Smith’s work to encourage people to better appreciate those pieces that are still on public view and try to ensure that what remains of his work is conserved and restored.

The society is updating the booklet and wants members of the public to help fill in some of the gaps in their knowledge.

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Vicky Manthorpe, secretary to the trustees of the Norwich Society, is appealing for help from the public to fill in the gaps.

She said: “We are trying discover what has happened to some of Moray-Smith’s work which has gone missing. In particular, we would like to find out what has happened to three oil paintings that he did for The Ship pub in Brancaster; these depicted a ship beside the Tower of London; a ship in the port of Rochester; and a painting of a naval battle, possibly the Armada.

“Moray-Smith also produced six large panels for The Jolly Farmers pub in King’s Lynn which are now in store at the Rural Life Museum in Gressenhall. However, a seventh panel depicting ploughing and reported to be 11ft long, is missing.

“Also missing are three pieces he made for the Men of March pub in March.

“Finally, we wonder if your readers may be able to help us with information about four individual works he did for pubs around Norwich: one showed a flying fish for the pub of that name in Carbrooke, Watton; the second showed herons and a river scene done for The Harnser in Stalham; a third depicted a Viking warrior produced for The Viking pub (now a restaurant) in Sprowston; and, finally, a fourth showing a mail coach produced for the Coach & Horses in Norwich.

“We would love to know what has happened to these missing works and wonder if any readers might have any information that might help us.”

If anyone can provide information about the missing pictures email, write to Vicky Manthorpe at the Norwich Society, the Assembly House, Theatre Street, Norwich NR2 1RQ, or call 01603 765606.

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