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Cowboy’s son became celebrated Norfolk artist, farmer and horseman

PUBLISHED: 12:18 13 December 2017 | UPDATED: 12:28 13 December 2017

Farmer and artist Joe Godderidge working at his home in Stanfield in 2014. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Farmer and artist Joe Godderidge working at his home in Stanfield in 2014. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2014

If horses and farming were his life, then art was his passion.

Farmer and artist Joe Godderidge working at his home in Stanfield in 2014. Picture: Matthew Usher. Farmer and artist Joe Godderidge working at his home in Stanfield in 2014. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Joe Godderidge, who has died at the age of 86 at home on his farm in Stanfield, near Dereham, became synonymous with Norfolk country life through his paintings and belief in keeping with traditional horse-powered farming methods despite modern mechanisation.

His family said he was “greatly loved” and plan to celebrate his life with an exhibition of his work following his funeral on Friday, December 15.

His niece Naomi Snowdon spoke on behalf of his whole family, saying: “Many people have contacted us not only with messages of condolence, but also to say how much of an influence Joe has been on their lives. These messages have been quite overwhelming in their love and appreciation of Joe.

“We feel that it is important, even at this very sad time, to celebrate Joe’s life. He was greatly loved by us all and will be always very fondly remembered.”

A young Joe Godderidge on horseback. Picture supplied by the Godderidge family A young Joe Godderidge on horseback. Picture supplied by the Godderidge family

Mr Godderidge was born the son of a cowboy in Calgary, Canada, in 1931, and would watch his father ride in the rodeos, wanting to have a go himself. But the family left Canada when he was five and started farming in Sussex.

At the age of 11 and at grammar school his love of painting began. Being dyslexic he struggled with the academic work but his art teacher though saw his talent, encouraged him and gave him confidence. His grandmother was also a celebrated artist.

Leaving school he settled in Norfolk and became a farmer by day and an artist by night. As all his land work was done using heavy horses, these became his inspiration, along with other farming scenes.

As a member of the Norwich School of Art he held exhibitions in the Assembly Rooms in Norwich and at Pensthorpe.

Farmer and artist Joe Godderidge working at his home in Stanfield in 2014. Picture: Matthew Usher. Farmer and artist Joe Godderidge working at his home in Stanfield in 2014. Picture: Matthew Usher.

At that time his paintings were snapped up by Gordon Frazer and Medici to be used on their greetings cards.

But despite his success he always lived a very humble life on his farm surrounded by art and animals.

* His funeral will be held on Friday December 15, at St Margaret’s Church in Stanfield at 10.45am and afterwards for a celebration and exhibition at Glebe Farm, Carleton Forehoe, near Wymondham. Anyone with Joe Godderidge paintings who would like to contribute to this exhibition is asked to contact 07734 557200.

Farmer and artist Joe Godderidge working at his home in Stanfield in 2014. Picture: Matthew Usher. Farmer and artist Joe Godderidge working at his home in Stanfield in 2014. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Farmer and artist Joe Godderidge working at his home in Stanfield in 2014. Picture: Matthew Usher. Farmer and artist Joe Godderidge working at his home in Stanfield in 2014. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Ploughing day at Colkirk near Fakenham. Joe Godderidge ploughing with his horses in 2005. Photo: Adrian Judd Ploughing day at Colkirk near Fakenham. Joe Godderidge ploughing with his horses in 2005. Photo: Adrian Judd

Farmer and artist Joe Godderidge working at his home in Stanfield in 2014. Picture: Matthew Usher. Farmer and artist Joe Godderidge working at his home in Stanfield in 2014. Picture: Matthew Usher.

A young Joe Godderidge, far left, with his two sisters and their Great Danes. Picture supplied by the Godderidge family A young Joe Godderidge, far left, with his two sisters and their Great Danes. Picture supplied by the Godderidge family

Farmer Joe Godderidge. Picture supplied by the Godderidge family Farmer Joe Godderidge. Picture supplied by the Godderidge family

Farmer and artist Joe Godderidge working at his home in Stanfield in 2014. Picture: Matthew Usher. Farmer and artist Joe Godderidge working at his home in Stanfield in 2014. Picture: Matthew Usher.

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