Report of Diss U3A November meeting

At the November meeting the guest speaker was Julia Sorrell who gave a lively and affectionate talk on the life and work of her father, the artist Alan Sorrell, one of Britain’s best known archaeological painters.

For further information on Diss U3A please telephone 01379 642674 or visit our website.

The next meeting will be on 5th December at the Diss United Reformed Church commencing at 10.30am.

Julia illustrated her talk with some of her father’s best known works including his recreations of Stonehenge, Hadrian’s Wall and Hadley Castle in Essex. Alan Sorrell’s childhood had been troubled by ill health and a serious stammer which made him a poor communicator. However his early artistic talent gave him an outlet and he found employment as a commercial artist which led to a position at the Royal College of Art as an illustrator. Whilst there he won a scholarship to The British School in Rome to paint for three years. After returning to England he was observing a Roman dig in Leicestershire and was asked to do some archaeological illustrations for publication in the London Illustrated News and it was here that his interest and reputation for reconstructual drawing began. Following his service in the RAF where his artistic talents had been put to good use, he started to receive regular commissions for archaeological illustrations. In addition to his works of Roman Britain his paintings varied from large church murals to Britain’s first power station at Hinkley Point. He became a regular contributor to the London Illustrated News and was often asked to go abroad to record subjects of historical importance such as the building of the Aswan Dam in Egypt. Alan Sorrell spent much of his life living and working in Essex where he continued to paint until his death in 1974.

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