Can I see the Portraits?


  • Norwich possesses one of the finest collections of civic portraits in the country. The collection contains one hundred and eighteen portraits, ranging from the sixteenth to the early twentieth century. The nearest parallels are the colleges at Oxford and Cambridge, and some of the London Livery Companies.
  • The early pictures in the Norwich collection were painted on panels by artists whose names are not known, but who were probably East Anglian by birth.
  • Records of 1632 and 1634 show that portraits were 'made at the charge of the city', indicating a custom which may have begun as early as the late fifteenth century.
  • The portraits which appear here are just a small selection of those which still hang in Blackfriars' Hall, and represent some of the important people in the history of The Halls:

Robert Jannys (d. 1530)

Robert Jannys

  • Robert was sheriff in 1509 and mayor in 1517 and 1524.
  • Robert lived in the parish of St George Colegate in a house called the Two Rammes.
  • There is no doubt that he was a man of considerable substance; he owned property in various parts of the city. 
  • His will, dated 1530-1, is remarkable for its benefactions, including '4d. each to the blind-lame and sore with bedridden in the city, and a penny each every Friday for 20 years to 80 poor folk'.
  • He even left a tenement in St George's parish for life to Katherine Manne, the former anchoress at The Halls.

Augustine Steward (d. 1581)

 Augustine Steward


  • Augustine Steward was sheriff in 1526, mayor in 1534, 1546 and 1556, and deputy mayour in 1549 during Kett's Rebellion
  • He was born in 1491, in the parish of St George Tombland.
  • He died in 1581, aged seventy-nine, and asked to be buried in the church of St Peter Hungate next to where his two wives were buried.
  • Apart from his general civic duties, he must chiefly be remembered as having been instrumental in obtaining a grant to the city from the Crown of The Halls, thus preserving the finest example of mendicant architecture in England.