John Craske was a Norfok fisherman, born in Sheringham 1881 who became very ill at the onset of the First World War. In 1923 he began to paint the sea, boats and coastline and later began working in embroidery, which he could do from his bed. One of his great masterpieces is a tapestry called The Evacuation of Dunkirk, which he made after listening to what was happening on the wireless. Many smaller ships including fishing and life boats formed part of a flotilla which helped carry soldiers to the larger vessels. One patch of sky within the tapestry remained unfinished, when Craske died in 1943.
The exhibition will bring together paintings by Craske from several different lenders across the Eastern Region and in London, as well as showing for the first time in many years the Dunkirk tapestry, kindly lent by Norfolk Museums Service. The display of this work coincides with the 75th anniversary of the evacuation, and will give visitors the opportunity to reflect on this far-reaching event in modern European history as well as Craske’s own experiences of the sea. This exhibition will coincide with the publication by Jonathan Cape of Threads: The Delicate Life of John Craske in 2015, and NUA will host an evening of conversation between the author Blackburn and the art critic and admirer of Craske Ian Collins.