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Stunning portraits capture Norfolk fishermen from days gone by

PUBLISHED: 16:37 20 January 2020 | UPDATED: 16:37 20 January 2020

One of the fishermen's portraits by Keith Colman, of Sheringham. Picture: Stuart Anderson

One of the fishermen's portraits by Keith Colman, of Sheringham. Picture: Stuart Anderson

Archant

He used to see them around the streets and at the seafront in Sheringham when he was just a lad.

Keith Colman, of Sheringham, with some of his portraits of fishernen from the town. Picture: Stuart AndersonKeith Colman, of Sheringham, with some of his portraits of fishernen from the town. Picture: Stuart Anderson

The faces of those bearded and weather-beaten North Sea fisherman burst with so much character Keith Colman could not forget.

And now the 83-year-old, who lives in Holway Road, has revealed a series of drawings of those faces he has been working on since he moved back to the town in 2007.

The retired civil engineer said: "Some of these fishermen were knocking about when I was a young kid.

"I can do one drawing about three days if I'm keen and I was really keen to do a lot of these because they're so lovely.

One of the fishermen's portraits by Keith Colman, of Sheringham. Picture: Stuart AndersonOne of the fishermen's portraits by Keith Colman, of Sheringham. Picture: Stuart Anderson

"I loved the old characters whom made a living from the sea.

"I too loved sea fishing and would bring my small boat to catch fresh fish."

Mr Colman said he found the faces fascinating as they spoke of another time - a part of our coastal heritage which seemed to be fading.

"You don't get the same thing anymore," he said. "Are you going to get in a boat and not know if you are coming back, or are you going to work in factory and probably make more money?"

One of the fishermen's portraits by Keith Colman, of Sheringham. Picture: Stuart AndersonOne of the fishermen's portraits by Keith Colman, of Sheringham. Picture: Stuart Anderson

Mr Colman said he based the portraits on old photographs and postcards he found.

He said: "If I find a really good picture I get so excited and know it's a picture I have got to do."

Mr Colman said some of the fishermen he has drawn included Charles Grice, Robin Cocks - who everyone called 'Cock Robin' - and Belcher Johnson.

He said he'd always enjoyed art, and he has produced scores of oil paintings, wood carvings, wooden furniture, and even a wall mural in his conservatory.

One of the fishermen's portraits by Keith Colman, of Sheringham. Picture: Stuart AndersonOne of the fishermen's portraits by Keith Colman, of Sheringham. Picture: Stuart Anderson

"I just can't sit still," he said. "I've been writing a book for the 20 years about my life as well."

Mr Colman was always encouraged by his family, including his wife, Margaret, known as Poppy, who died last year after they were married for more than 60 years.

He also served with the Grenadier Guards for his national service, and worked in Qatar for a year.

One of the fishermen's portraits by Keith Colman, of Sheringham. Picture: Stuart AndersonOne of the fishermen's portraits by Keith Colman, of Sheringham. Picture: Stuart Anderson

One of the fishermen's portraits by Keith Colman, of Sheringham. Picture: Stuart AndersonOne of the fishermen's portraits by Keith Colman, of Sheringham. Picture: Stuart Anderson

One of the fishermen's portraits by Keith Colman, of Sheringham. Picture: Stuart AndersonOne of the fishermen's portraits by Keith Colman, of Sheringham. Picture: Stuart Anderson

One of the fishermen's portraits by Keith Colman, of Sheringham. Picture: Stuart AndersonOne of the fishermen's portraits by Keith Colman, of Sheringham. Picture: Stuart Anderson

One of the fishermen's portraits by Keith Colman, of Sheringham. Picture: Stuart AndersonOne of the fishermen's portraits by Keith Colman, of Sheringham. Picture: Stuart Anderson

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