Bill Calladine, one of Britain's foremost marine artists, has produced a wonderful painting of "Excelsior" at work as she would have been in the 1920s.
Bill Calladine specialises in oil paintings of sailing ships in the style of the Dutch Masters. Bill lives in Norfolk and took a group of his pupils to Amsterdam for a unique sailing and painting holiday. After guided tours of the Reijks and Van Gogh museums, they boarded "Excelsior" for the sail home to Harwich. During the trip, Bill gave his pupils his own interpretation of "Excelsior's" character as a subject for a painting. The Trust was honoured and delighted when he subsequently announced his decision to research and paint an original picture of "Excelsior", and then to donate it to them.
Bill is an inspired, energetic and entertaining artist who considers himself "a dinosaur" - one of a dying breed of purist, classical painters in oils. He is a founder member of the Guild of Norwich Painters. Born in Derby in 1941, he studied art and technical graphics, in which he qualified before joining Rolls Royce, who sponsored him in further studies in aeronautical engineering and technical graphics.
Subsequently, his first love of art won through when he resigned from the Royal Aeronautical Establishment at Farnborough in 1974, to pursue painting for a living. Fulfilling his love of painting the sea lead to an invitation to exhibit work at Scheepvaart Museum in Amsterdam, home of some of the world's finest marine paintings, and also to exhibit at the Royal Society of Marine Artists. Today, his paintings are exhibited in London's West End galleries and across the world. They are bought by private clients, major institutions and national navies (including the Royal Navy).
Click on the play button to hear Bill talking about the meticulous research that went into his "Excelsior" painting. The point-of-view in the picture is from another sailing trawler, where the crew are hauling nets, as "Excelsior" herself beats past. It is a rough day, the ship is reefed and the weather is cold.
The painting was unveiled at a special party at Somerleyton Hall in May 2001, where it was presented to The Trust. Chairman Geoffrey Copeman praised Bill's artistry and his generosity. A limited edition of prints have been produced for sale to supporters.