Anyone who has spent much time in Colchester has quite likely encountered an elderly chap with flowing white hair and moustache, sitting beside his easel with paintbrush in hand. Charles Debenham was born and raised in Colchester and has been painting the buildings and street scenes around the town for most of his life – as well as straying over the border to Sudbury.
He doesn’t seek out just the pretty buildings and he doesn’t wait for the sun to shine before he paints – always with his distinctive palette of muted colours. Here are pictures of corner shops, pubs, tattoo parlours and simple terraces with wheelie bins. For Charles Debenham, painting a building is like painting a portrait – each one has a story to tell, but it can take the fresh eyes of an artist to reveal that character. And some also record the life of people in the streets. Buskers and mothers pushing buggies; shoppers and friends talking at the roadside. Together these pictures form a portrait gallery of the people and buildings of Colchester and Sudbury.