CHARACTERS in HICKLING:
Roland Green was an English bird artist. He was born in Kent in 1891, the son of a taxidermist. His father trained him in the art of taxidermy, and he knew well how to stuff and set up the birds.
As a boy he had a natural talent for drawing and painting birds, and he subsequently went to RochesterSchool of Art and the Regent Street Polytechnic. He then found work at the Natural History Museum in London, and he often said he became a professional painter as he could “settle to nothing else”…
In the First World War, he first joined the London Rifle Brigade, later transferring to the Royal Engineers, where his drawing skills were usefully employed in producing maps for the Royal Flying Corps.
He settled in Hickling in 1930, when he was commissioned by his patron Lord Desborough to paint friezes at Whiteslea Lodge.
He first lived in a houseboat (appropriately called Avis) moored by the mill later known as “Roland Green’s Mill” (more frequently referred to by our“Voices” as “The Dipping Place”).
He eventually built a reed-thatched bungalow shaded by willows and surrounded by water on three side at Hill Common; here he worked for the rest of his life. Sometime in his seventies, though, he went to live in a drier brick built bungalow in the village - the floors of the studio were often flooded - although he continued to paint in the studio! He also painted in his mill: the unusual top to the mill was a studio with wide views of the Broad and its birdlife.
He died on 18th December 1972 at the age of 82, and is buried in St Mary’s churchyard in Hickling. His tombstone carries the inscription “Artist, who loved Hickling and the Broad”.