Christopher, Niall Norris
Christopher Niall “Pascal” Norris
Reclusive artist Christopher Niall Norris. 1956 Born in Edinburgh, Scotland. His family lived in Edinburgh for six years before moving to a small, out-of-the-way cottage in Hawick, a town in the Scottish Borders. “Pascal”, as his family nicknamed him, which he later adopted as his name, showed early talent in woodworking. His father was a skilled cabinetmaker whose workshop behind the house was where Pascal, at age 14, likely made his first violin. He was also musical. Leonard Friedman, the director of the Scottish Baroque Ensemble, was so impressed by his abilities that he offered the teenager violin lessons after he graduated from high school. Pascal studied with Friedman until he left home, in 1974, to attend Edinburgh Art College. In Edinburgh, Pascal became a dedicated Buddhist and, after graduating, moved to London to study acupuncture and Tai chi. He carved intricate woodblock prints to earn money, and started making instruments again. A handmade viola won him first prize in a national competition, while a violin won him third. But London was too expensive. In 1988, Pascal moved back home to Hawick. On the way, a truck driver who'd fallen asleep at the wheel hit his rental van, destroying Pascal's instruments and most of his artwork. Pascal burned the remnants in a ritual fire and started over again. Pascal made Violins and Drums from animal hides and was killed by inhaling Anthrax spores from the hides in his woodworker’s studio at Hawick in 2006. Robert Mitchell commissioned still life oil paintings from Pascal during 1986 and 1988 to help him continue working in his Chiswick flat nr London. This painting was pre-conserved by Robert before the art work was started and survived the crash. Pascal worked on damaged oil paintings on wood panels rejoining splits in the wood and fitting cradles to the back of panels for Robert from February 1984 to July 1987.