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Brush Quay photo inspires painting

PUBLISHED: 10:12 30 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:37 30 June 2010

John Cooper with his picture of Brush Quay

John Cooper with his picture of Brush Quay

A colourful scene captures an era of seaside charm, folk in hats taking a leisurely stroll, well-behaved children who probably play with train sets at home - and just one car.

A colourful scene captures an era of seaside charm, folk in hats taking a leisurely stroll, well-behaved children who probably play with train sets at home - and just one car.

Brush Quay was bustling in 1928 when the snap which inspired a painting was taken from a room on the second floor of the landmark Pier Hotel.

And now John Cooper - the hobby artist who created an amazingly accomplished landscape - hopes that is where it will hang, after the hotel's owner spotted it by chance in the high street shop where it was being framed.

Mr Cooper, 73, of Burnt Lane, said it would be an appropriate home for the oil painting, where the view was similar to this day, the most marked difference being the dominance of the car.

The great grandfather, who has lived life to the full, discovered the artist within while recovering from an accident at sea. As a crewman on the Great Yarmouth and Gorleston lifeboat he was laid up following a rescue - his wife presenting him with paints and a board to give him something to do. To his

amazement the painting of the incident sold.

Since then the former clockmaker has combined painting with his other hobby of lace bobbin making, since retirement from the Seaman's Mission in 1997.

He is currently working on a painting of a tram leaving Gorleston Tramways, sketching it out in light yellow before adding the oils.

The Brush Quay one was completed on-and-off in around three months. Mr Cooper said he used the photograph as his inspiration adding more figures to the foreground,

the Yarmouth Mercury-emblazoned 1928 bus, and a little dog cocking its leg.

An engineer by trade Mr Cooper, with his wife Christine and four children, spent eight years in Lagos, Nigeria, working as a marketing manager for a building company. His hobby there was polishing gem

stones, becoming skilled enough to run eight-week courses in ring-making. His talents also stretch to enamelled wrought iron work. His painting of the Piper Alpha is on display in the North Sea Medical Centre.

He has also set up or refurbished seamen's missions in Ghana and Le Havre. He was forced to retire in 1997 aged 60 when the Seaman's Mission in Great Yarmouth was closed.

Mr Cooper is the retired port welfare officer and honorary freeman of the borough.


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