This painting shows a Norwich turnshoe maker in the 1950s. It was presented to the Norwich Footwear Manufacturers Association by G.N. Barret Esq. In the painting, the shoemaker sits at his bench surrounded by various shoe making tools. The term 'turnshoe' relates to the way in which shoes were commonly made in the city. Turnshoes were made inside out, then turned the right way out, so that the grain side of the leather is on the outside of the shoe and the upper / sole seam in on the inside. In the background, you can see four caged canaries. Norwich and canaries have been linked for over 400 years. The birds were probably first brought to the city by Flemish weavers, known as the Strangers. By the 18th century canary breeding had become a popular hobby in Norwich, and was known as “the fancy”. Clubs, shows and prizes were common and for many, the hobby became a source of income. This association with canaries provided the nick-name for the Norwich City football team soon after it was formed in 1902. A few years later the team were wearing yellow and green, and so the club adopted the Canary as its badge in 1922. It has been a mascot ever since.


  • Title: The Turnshoe Maker
  • Creator: Holland
  • Date: 1950/1959
  • location association: Norwich, Norfolk
  • Display Type: Reserve Collections
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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