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Rarely displayed 123ft Walberswick Scroll painting goes on show for history group’s anniversary

A rare opportunity to get a look at the Walberswick Scroll - a 123ft watercolour study of every house in the village, painted in 1931/32 by John Doman Turner. 
Father and son James and Stephen Robertson with  Richard Scott and John English

A rare opportunity to get a look at the Walberswick Scroll - a 123ft watercolour study of every house in the village, painted in 1931/32 by John Doman Turner. Father and son James and Stephen Robertson with Richard Scott and John English

Art lovers were given a rare opportunity to feast their eyes on an enormous but seldom-seen painting of an entire pre-war Suffolk village.

The Walberswick Scroll - a 123ft watercolour study of every house in the village painted in 1931/32 by John Doman Turner.The Walberswick Scroll - a 123ft watercolour study of every house in the village painted in 1931/32 by John Doman Turner.

The 123ft Walberswick Scroll, which only makes an appearance a few times a year, was given its latest airing for the local history group’s 25th anniversary exhibition.

John Doman Turner’s panoramic painting was completed in 1931/32 and depicts every property in Walberswick at the time.

Among those gathered to see the scroll revolved in all its glory were father and son, James and Stephen Robertson, who have dedicated much of their spare time in recent years to researching and documenting the little-known artist’s life and work.

Although his last exhibition was in 1915, as part of the New English Art Club, several examples of Turner’s work still exist in the county he visited for holidays, aside from the lengthy watercolour study of Walberswick.

John English recently took over the full-time duty of showing and operating the scroll from fellow villager and artist, Richard Scott.

Both were on hand at the village hall for the latest revelation of the painting, which coincided with Walberswick Local History Group’s 25th anniversary exhibition of its archives and other memorabilia including, videos, photographs and pictures.

Turner’s painting of Walberswick was not the only large-scale piece he completed.

His ‘Trinity Fair Scroll’ is housed in a room used for receptions at the Swan Hotel, in Southwold.

Another, depicting the homes on Southwold’s Ferry Road, is kept safely at the town’s museum, while a fourth resides in the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Blythe House reading room.

Visit johndomanturner.com for more on Stephen and James Robertson’s project to chart the life and career of John Doman Turner.

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