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Artist captures Happisburgh lighthouse on canvas for national TV competition

PUBLISHED: 10:37 04 December 2018 | UPDATED: 10:37 04 December 2018

Allan Martin in action for Landscape Artist Of The Year. Picture: Storyvault Films

Allan Martin in action for Landscape Artist Of The Year. Picture: Storyvault Films

© Sky UK Limited.

Television viewers will see for the first time tonight a ‘challenge’ painting of Happisburgh Lighthouse chosen as one of three finalists in a national competition.

Happisburgh Lighthouse was painted in the traditional red and white colours for the first time since 2009.
 Picture: Nick ButcherHappisburgh Lighthouse was painted in the traditional red and white colours for the first time since 2009. Picture: Nick Butcher

During the summer the lighthouse’s 85ft tower was painted in the traditional red and white colours for the first time since 2009 by Mark Hairsine and Frank Windass.

And the view was captured by professional artist Allan Dewar Martin, from Barnet in Hertfordshire.

He beat over 450 artists to reach the final of this year’s Landscape Artist of the Year series at Greenwich Park, London.

The final - and the first chance people will get to see the canvas - will be shown on Tuesday, December 4 on Sky Arts at 8pm and is co-hosted by actor and art-lover Stephen Mangan alongside Joan Bakewell.

Happisburgh Lighthouse was painted in the traditional red and white colours for the first time since 2009. Picture: Nick ButcherHappisburgh Lighthouse was painted in the traditional red and white colours for the first time since 2009. Picture: Nick Butcher

This is the fourth series of the show, which is produced by independent production company Storyvault Films.

In the final, each artist will also be asked to capture the view from the Royal Observatory across London, which will be shown to the judges alongside their winning entries.

Mr Martin said: “I initially considered shifting the viewpoint in the painting to try and echo what may be seen from a ship, to allow myself to include the lighthouse, cliffs and coastal erosion defences.

“My choice became a composite, and I was intrigued to see if this would allow me to convey a sense of a possible future, a warning, include the present and reference past narrative while also addressing the main aspect of the challenge.

“Paint sprayed markings on grass close to the edge of the cliff indicate where land is being lost already. I decided to use this, to place the lighthouse far closer to the cliff edge than it is at present, to convey a possible future where the lighthouse would be in a precarious position unless something is done to stop that happening, a very real concern for those involved with the lighthouse today.

“As this erosion happens, it is as if the beach is transported in time, to a level where people walked up to 950,000 years ago.

“Among many prehistoric finds made over the last 200 years indicating signs of habitation, in 2013 a series of footprints left in estuary muds by early humans were discovered, yet to be dated precisely, they are the oldest known hominid footprints outside of Africa. The beach is included to reference this discovery and history.”

Mr Martin’s work will be judged against canvases showcasing Lincoln Cathedral and Brighton Pier by the other finalists.

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