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Grave of former fisherman and artist restored in fitting tribute

PUBLISHED: 15:59 24 August 2020 | UPDATED: 19:12 24 August 2020

John Craske's great nephew Trevor Craske and his wife, Liz a have restored the artist’s grave. Picture: Contributed by Trevor Craske

John Craske's great nephew Trevor Craske and his wife, Liz a have restored the artist’s grave. Picture: Contributed by Trevor Craske

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The grave of a fisherman who transformed into an artist has been restored.

John Craske's great nephew Trevor Craske and his wife, Liz a have restored the artist’s grave. Picture: Contributed by Trevor CraskeJohn Craske's great nephew Trevor Craske and his wife, Liz a have restored the artist’s grave. Picture: Contributed by Trevor Craske

Born in Sheringham in 1881, John Craske was originally a fisherman and spent most of his adult life in and near to Dereham, where his family moved to open fish and chip shops.

Mr Craske became known in later life for his art after taking up painting when he suffered ill health and then subsequently moved on to embroidery.

Sheringham-born fisherman artist John Craske, whose work has inspired an eight-metre embroidery-long project based on photographs taken of the town's seafront.
 Photo: KAREN BETHELLSheringham-born fisherman artist John Craske, whose work has inspired an eight-metre embroidery-long project based on photographs taken of the town's seafront. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Now, the artist’s great nephew Trevor Craske and his wife, Liz have restored his grave.

A spokesperson from Dereham Heritage Trust said: “Trevor and his wife Liz were dismayed when they saw the state of John and Laura Craske’s grave and resolved to restore it.

John Craske's great nephew Trevor Craske and his wife, Liz a have restored the artist’s grave. Picture: Contributed by Trevor CraskeJohn Craske's great nephew Trevor Craske and his wife, Liz a have restored the artist’s grave. Picture: Contributed by Trevor Craske

“They decided to restore the grave with the image of a whale to commemorate their lives.”

Mr Craske was the third child of eight born to Edward and Hannah Craske, and worked for the family selling fish around nearby villages including Swanton Morley and North Elmham, often working very long hours.

John Craske's great nephew Trevor Craske and his wife, Liz a have restored the artist’s grave. Picture: Contributed by Trevor CraskeJohn Craske's great nephew Trevor Craske and his wife, Liz a have restored the artist’s grave. Picture: Contributed by Trevor Craske

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When he was 36 he was conscripted into the army but he soon contracted influenza and was looked after in an army hospital.

John Craske's great nephew Trevor Craske and his wife, Liz a have restored the artist’s grave. Picture: Contributed by Trevor CraskeJohn Craske's great nephew Trevor Craske and his wife, Liz a have restored the artist’s grave. Picture: Contributed by Trevor Craske

Mr Craske never completely recovered from the illness and was affected for the rest of his life, sometimes being bed-ridden for months.

“A doctor prescribed sea air and said that, to occupy himself, John could take up embroidery”, said Dereham Heritage Trust. “Thus began the astonishing career as an artist of this former fisherman.

One of the John Craske watercoours featured in a collection of work by the famous fisherman held by Sheringham Musuem.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLOne of the John Craske watercoours featured in a collection of work by the famous fisherman held by Sheringham Musuem. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

“Most of Mr Craske’s pictures were of boats, fish or the sea and it is said that he missed the sea.

“Some of his work was bought by an American art collector, Sylvia Townsend, and this was later donated to the Arts Centre at the Maltings in Aldeburgh.

“Dereham Heritage Trust own a small number of works and there is a much bigger collection of his best known embroideries at the Sheringham Museum.”

Mr Craske and his wife also had a spell living in Hemsby, and Mr Craske died in 1943 in hospital in Norwich.

For more information on John Craske or to view his work visit the Dereham Heritage Trust website.


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